As I prepare to leave for the states, I’m constantly changing my mind. Home or Ireland? Where do I want to be more? Being abroad has introduced me to so many opportunities, but it has also reminded me of the roots I have back home. Over the past few weeks, homesickness has set in. I’m treading the fine line of never wanting to leave such a beautiful country and experience, and wanting to see my family and my home. In this inner conflict, I’ve seen that when you’re in one place, you’re always looking for another. Traveling this summer has made me ache for the comforts of home, crave more traveling experiences in other places, and dream of living in Ireland one day. None of these things is so bad, but in some cases, my dreams for the future kept me from fully experiencing the joy of now.
A friend encouraged me this summer to quit wishing I was somewhere else. To fully live in the moment, rather than trying to get somewhere that could potentially be bigger and better. But I’m a planner. I love having everything organized and figured out, so it feels like I’m always looking ahead. Instead of sitting back and enjoying where I am, I’m looking to what’s next. Especially while traveling, how do we allow ourselves to want to go somewhere else in order to see the world, yet remain present where we are?
Throughout the summer, I was also amazed at how often our teachers would give acting advice which would then translate into life lessons. One take-away I learned in class was that we live our lives horizontally. We are perpetually looking to the past and the future for answers. We are in constant motion – always looking for what’s next. My acting teacher told us on the first day, strive to live vertically. Be present, be connected. Firmly align yourself with the earth below you and reach up in an attempt to gain more awareness. Then take that mindfulness, and put it into your work. Learn to ground yourself so that you may then give to others. In acting, finding truth in your work and giving to your ensemble and your audience are what makes theater a work of art. Theater is a momentary joy. As actors, we are constantly chasing our next chance to experience it. But, if we don’t live in the moment we are given onstage, we will never find or be able to express truth.
So this summer has been about discovering those qualities: truth in theater, rootedness in myself, and joy in today. Sure, the grass is always greener on the other side, but looking down; the grass here is pretty neat too.
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<p>Hi! My name is Kate Jones and I'm a Dramatic Arts and Performance Studies double major at UNC Chapel Hill. I am jazzed to start my study abroad program concentrating in acting this summer in Dublin, Ireland. This is my third time traveling to Ireland which should give you some insight into how much I love this country and it impact it has made on my life. I cannot wait to experience it again, but as a student this time around!</p>