“I’m the valet. You have to give me your car.”

person in bunny suit sitting on a bench

I’ve been reading (audio) books by actors of late.  It started with How to American:  An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, by Jimmy O. Yang.  It was so good I finished in two days.  (I laughed so hard, I don’t recommend listening in public.)  It made me fall in love with America all over again.  If you don’t read it, I feel sorry for you.  Next, I listened to The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, by Jenna Fischer.  I loved it.

I have no plans of becoming an actor, but she mentioned it on the Office Ladies podcast, and it sounded like useful information regardless.  It turned out to be fascinating.  I learned a lot, and it led to thoughts about defining success, how to recognize it, gather it, and how to continue growing despite it.  Since it means something different to each person, I think Jenna Fischer did a brilliant job of conveying her journey in a manner easily translated to alternate paths.

I loved hearing it in her voice, too.  The authors narrate these books, (and when the reader is an actor, it’s excellent.)  I mean.  Duh.  They’re professional storytellers.  Damn.  I just typed the obvious.  I laughed a lot with this book, too.  (I should probably make a rule about listening to podcasts and audiobooks by funny people in public.)  I’m currently more than halfway through reading The Bassoon King:  Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, by Rainn Wilson.

making shadows

I like Rainn Wilson even more than Dwight Schrute.  I saw him on Mom recently playing a therapist.  He was great in that, too.  After reading about how these actors struggled when building their careers, I remember a moment of feeling retro alarmed.  In all three books, they emphasized the significance of seeking out opportunities in areas that correspond to your strengths.  I thought back to when I joined the Army, and how I chose my MOS (military occupational specialty.)

Before joining, everyone takes the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.  It’s a tool you can use to help choose your job.  I scored well overall, so I picked a job that would help me improve in the area I scored lowest, not a job that required skills I already possessed.  To me, it was the most obvious thing in the world.  And I just found out it’s probably the opposite of what most would decide.  Whoops.

Fortunately, I got to learn some amazing stuff I had no idea even existed.  I also got to help pioneer a new job opened for women in the Army (my ego still appreciates that bit.)  Unfortunately, I loved the training and theory but felt no passion for the job, which mattered because it led to my getting into shenanigans with tearful consequences out of boredom.  So I went back to training and did it again.

cliche fake nose glasses

The second area entailed nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare training.  (sings, hated it.)  I decided if there’s ever a nuclear explosion, to run toward the flash.  I don’t even want to talk about the other two.  Guess what?  I went back and trained again.  They called me The Educated Soldier at one point because I was continually going on TDY for school.  It did help me figure out I was destined to be a chairborne warrior, though.  Anything with a computer was my eventual specialty.  Heh.

I don’t regret taking the scenic route. Skill-building does lovely things for my self-esteem.  I love being more capable than people expect.  I think one of the coolest things I learned is there are all sorts of ways to be intelligent, and most of them don’t include what they claimed in classrooms as kids.  I met soldiers who could talk to engines the way I talk to computers.  They awed me; (aside from that time, they sent me out to fill all the tires on the tracked vehicles.)  I’m off to continue my book.  💜✌🏽