there is nothing but the hum of the engine and my parents snoring that indicates any semblance of life in the dark nebraskan country side. driving nights on the road across country is a lot more dangerous and scary than days, especially in these backroads. as a result, nights are my shift, as my lasik enhanced eyesight gives me an advantage in the darkness over my parents' aged vision.
the sky is filled with nothing but emptiness and i can't help but wonder where i'm going. driving into the blackness of the unlit pavement feels like getting swallowed into nothingness. the silence and the absence of outside stimuli forces my mind to fill itself with things of the past, and sometimes i can't help thinking about someone, how i partly never wanted to leave the northeast a decade ago to stay close, how i didn't want to move to atlanta for a job after college, how when finally we were on the same 13.4 mile long island, we couldn't be farther apart if we were on opposite sides of the planet.
i check the odometer and the gps for progress. miles whiz by by the tenth, but crawls slowly by by the tens. no big deal though, as i've driven for over 500 miles nonstop before, under the same silver 2004 toyota camry LE under my feet.
it's only been a couple hours since we left the denny's. the parents love the denny's, cause of its all american menu and cheap prices. i can't help but think of the breaking bad fifth season premiere, and arranging my bacon into my age. i'm an older person now, nearly turning the page on my twenties. by this age, i thought i'd have things figured out, but here i am, driving into this nothingness and wondering what the hell i got myself into.
i think about happiness, and how i could've charted my life in that direction. there's so much i could have let go of in order to pursue that avenue. i thought of several possibilities that could've led to a traditionally stable and functional life, that would've made sense. i wonder if i would really be happy in those scenarios, and ultimately decide that i would have felt trapped and wondering. the pure pursuit of happiness ironically leads to disappointment, when you realize that it's fleeting.
i'm not going to fool myself into thinking that i will be happy if i am "successful" in my endeavors out here. happiness is not what i'm searching for in this career path. but i can't help but think to myself, what the contingency plan is if i "fail". in a sense, it doesn't cost that much for me to try my hand at this career, one in which the majority of people aren't fulfilled by, whether artistically or financially. i am in a economically advantaged position to pursue it. but in terms of opportunity cost, there's plenty of pressures telling me that i'm being insane. finding myself in my mid-late 30's with no professional career to speak of is a daunting possibility.
my mother has her own aspirations for me, becoming an academic and saving this nation from economic turmoil from the reigns of the past couple of federal reserve chairmen. but i could name a host of other career "options" that i could go into that would be considered safe, practical and even meaningful. more of a sure thing.
most of the real actors i've talked to, the ones that work at it and are serious about it, tell me that you can't go into this business unless you think it's the thing you were born to do. i believe that that sense has been within me for a long time, i've been told that i'm hypersensitive to things and that i have a flair for the dramatic. but at the same time, because of the uncertainty in the whole industry, everything you do is a step a faith.
my thoughts bring me back to the road i'm driving on. my faith is in the united states and nebraskan governments and my iphone's waze program, trusting that i'm not driving into a brick wall or off a cliff, racing along at 80 mph. i sigh as i pull into the 4th holiday express, and mutter to my parents that we're here. i wonder to myself briefly how they must feel, thinking how they spent their youth surviving the darkness of life just to watch their son plunge into darkness headfirst.
whelp, can't turn back now.