Giving Up Acting to Become a Zoologist

In one week, I will turn 30.

In honor of this magnanimous event, I am going to elaborate on what I thought I would be doing/have achieved by/at age 30… starting with…

Age 8 – I would be accomplished zoologist by day, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback by night. Or weekend. I didn’t understand how work schedules worked, or that my football career would end in the 7th grade. I’d be happily married to a girl named Christine (I know this, because I found her name encased in a heart in my prepubescent journal), with 12 children. My mother had many brothers and sisters, which meant I had many aunts and uncles, which meant I had many cousins, which meant crazy family shenanigans and beating everyone at school in the game of ‘how many cousins do you have?’

Age 13 – With my pro football aspirations dead in the practice field grass, and the realization that being a zoologist means less ‘holding puppies’ and more ‘studying elephant poop’, I decided to focus on the present. Namely keeping away from designated bullies and keeping my oozing, pus-filled, acne face away from all self-respecting girls. And watching a lot of Speed Racer at 1 a.m. in my room. I had no time for the future.

Age 17 – Rock star, lead singer of heavy metal band. Married by 24 with two kids by 30, one boy and one girl. The lead singer to represent all of middle America. I wanted to make the most boring ‘Behind the Music’ of all time.

Age 24 – I would be making my living as an actor, with the possibility of winning my first Oscar. I can see it now, I would be sitting in the seats at the Academy Awards, pretending to be surprised that my name was called. Hold back tears on the way to the podium. Crowd gets to the feet for a standing ovation, because, of course, I’ve overcome some massive life trauma to be there that night. I would give the best speech ever given. So good they’d never let anyone speak after getting an award. Ever again. Graduate school = Goodbye modesty.

So soon I will be 30, with no wife, no kids, working as a forklift operator in Chicago, Il. I take acting classes regularly and take small projects here and there – to keep my acting hobby afloat. I had brief success as an intramural flag football quarterback, continue to play the guitar, and have learned that it’s not cool  to antagonize the monkeys at the zoo with animal noises.

I’m keeping my options open.

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