It was kind of fun being a latchkey kid.
I don’t get why so many people put it down. Say all you want about the conventions our “society” imposes on children – stuff like “getting fresh air” and “the need for parental supervision”. I was fine while my single mom was working long hours to put food on the table. Despite what any police report says, I never stabbed my neighbor on purpose – the game “Butchershop” just sounded awesome at the time.
The other big plus about latchkey life were the imaginary adventures. There were plenty of times that I got to go exploring with Indiana Jones, or hook up with Kelly Kapowski – they were called Monday through Friday, from 4:00 to 6:30. That was usually the time I killed while I waited for my parents to get home. A kid alone in a house figures out a lot of ways to keep busy. As I’ve gotten older, it definitely helps stave off insanity during a budding freelance career; when hours upon hours are spent alone in my apartment, writing reflective blog posts and IMing the hot girl in Dublin that I will most likely (due to geographical circumstances) never sleep with.
Obviously, I’m not a latchkey kid anymore, but sometimes I still feel like one. When you’re on your own in the big city, and hitting a few streaks of success in show biz – it’s very easy to get caught up in high expectations. I try not to lose a realistic perspective, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I mean, you want to be your own cheerleader, right? Especially when you’re best friend has always been… you?
I’ve been thinking about this, because recently I did not land a gig that a friend of mine ended up booking. It was purely a casting decision, and though I’m extremely happy for my friend, I’m disappointed for myself. Granted, I don’t know where this job would’ve taken me if I had booked it instead, but when an opportunity like this one makes itself available to you, you can’t help but think “FINALLY, this is it!” The dream that sustained you as a kid is within your grasp as an adult. It’s like you’re THIS close to making it happen. But, then all of the other factors you could’ve never anticipated surface. At the end day, you gave it your best, but you’re not what a casting director is looking for – which is, more often than not, the case.
But now I’m beginning to make this sound like a life-or-death thing, so I want to iterate: I know that there’re plenty more opportunities ahead. I was just banking on this one a bit more than the others. Because I’ve wanted a job like this for a while. And, because I didn’t get it, I’m bummed out. But, life goes on.
And, as for my friend, he’s going to be great and I am genuinely excited for him. He’s worked hard for this opportunity, and he’s earned it.
It hit me recently – being the former latchkey kid that I am – that I could just jump back into my dream world. Y’know: the place where I’m always getting everything I want. But that really doesn’t help anybody. So then, I have to turn to the other skill I’ve mastered: self-motivation. You can sit and sulk, or you can get shit done – it’s your call. I obviously can’t change anybody’s decision, but I know how I can stay happy. Doing that usually begins with admitting a letdown, and then moving on. Perspective is something you don’t come by until you get older. For all I know, this dream getting deferred may be a blessing in disguise. Until I do know, it may best – for right now – to leave the imaginary adventures on the side and just move forward.
Life never gives you what you want, but it does give you what you need. If you can learn something from the small disappointments, the big triumphs become much sweeter. And that’s also when – I’d like to think – the hot girl from Dublin finally gets the idea to buy a plane ticket.