The 2020 Post

So it’s 2020 and another 10 years went by –

In 1980 I turned 1.

In 1990 I turned 11 and went into 6th grade.

In 2000 I turned 21 and started my life in Arizona.

In 2010 I turned 31 and was building an improv theater.

In 2020, I will turn 41 this summer, i’m still in Phoenix, still married (eight years) and still undecided.

In reading many friends and acquaintances post at the turn of the decade, it’s hard not to reflect on your own path. And with 2019 being the turn of my 40th year in human existence I have done an awful lot of reflection on all four decades. Especially as the year 39 was spent finding my authentic self and committing my future to living my best life.

In my 30s the 2010s – I focused all my attention on building an improv community in Improv, for no other reason than being passionate, driven, motivated and madly in love with the art form. These were career building years in a realm of art that may never have been able to provide for me, yet, I was still hopeful that my hard work and dedication to it would give back and be my guiding light forever.

At the top of 2010 the Torch was just turning three and we rented our first space with the hopes of creating a dedicated space to this wonderful things we all loved. Along with that and down the next ten year road I was learning all kinds of things, a free education of sorts. However, mistakes, naivety, lack of conviction, complacency and the inability to fully comprehend how my actions affected every outcome, the amazing thing I had built with my colleagues became toxic. My return on investments no longer outweighed the heavy burden I created for myself.

And just like that…

I turned 40 and I felt like I wiped everything I worked hard for off my plate. I had to… I had to find myself underneath the life I created for myself. I sacrificed and compromised so many little things to be the person this organization needed that I no longer understood myself. The initial burn was incredible and felt like reinvention. It was hard to imagine myself without that history. I had a big gaping wound and was very angry about how it got there. I had anxiety over the one thing that connected me to my experience, improv. The thing I loved, the thing that drove me for 10 years of great life, was now, a scary monster. The healing has been slow and, rightfully so. I stopped performing for a time, I stopped teaching… and I let go of whatever I thought laid beyond 2020. To the point that nothing existed beyond it. Opportunities were still being offered, doors were still opened, but my joy of walking through them was not there. My dreams of finding more were ignited, but I no longer had a lamp to see what lied beyond this point. So yes, I feel very much like I am seeking a new doorway.

But time is not ever lasting, it doesn’t stand still while you feel the need to. I have given myself permission to look inward, focus on self preservation, find my light and turn up the volume on my stereo. This has led to more courage and bravery, to present myself the way I wish to be seen. Big dreams and fantasies swarm and cloud my mind… there is not a lot of doing, just a lot of being. However, in just being and doing more for me than others, I am finding my joy, my happiness in aspects of life I could not see under all the narrowed focus of my 30s.

This is lovely and is grounding me, allowing me to find my core, anchor me to this life… but finding my place and imagining a future in it is still unsteady. I focus on my likes and dislikes to stay linked to something. Putting no pressure or expectation on who I should be for others, but who I want to be for myself. It’s an empowering period and I have hopes that it blesses me with fulfillment once I see the possibilities. Yet, sometimes I worry that all that’s ahead of me is all there is… and that’s not a bad thing, I work for two great organizations, have a happy and healthy marriage with an amazing man who loves me. I am given opportunities to share my expertise in the art form and people are inspired by my. My biggest concern is who inspires me? What inspires me? Will I ever find something like improv again that drives a whole 10 years of experiences, growth, challenge and life affirming good times?

As much as I appreciate the last decade and all four that make up my life to this point. I worry that I’ve missed the mark. I antagonize over the talent I possess and the standing still I do with it. I wanted more for myself and sometimes I feel like my fear has held me back from being great. I don’t see the little affect, because I yearn for a greater one, yet, incapable of putting in the real work necessary to succeed, or taking the big leaps… perhaps I’m actually more comfortable, safer in this life.

All in all – I feel like the healing process is completing itself. I want to be an individual now. A powerful light that fills a room, without having to do much, just because that is what I am.

The 2020s just started for us, and the 2010s was full of amazing things. It’s not my job to predict, but I can imagine, ultimately, I just need to experience… and I wanted this for myself. When things got bad for me, I wanted time… I was desperate for space to find myself again, to figure it out. I suppose I’ve been harsh for having to take so long standing still. I’m not sure what will happen, but I have hope, and I feel alive, very much alive.

Best to everyone in the New Year! May you get one step closer to living your best life, everyday.

Jacqueline Arend

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2 responses to “The 2020 Post”

  1. Very open and honest. Thank you for sharing where you’ve been and how it’s pointing you where you’re going now. Very relatable.

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