Jeff the Younger,
Future Jeff here. Some encouraging news for when you're an adult and your life didn't turn out exactly they way you planned. Spoiler Alert: it doesn't. Why? Some of it will be because you made some bad decisions i.e. relationships, missed opportunities because fear, insecurity, with a dash of laziness and irresponsiblity thrown in or it won't be the way you planned because weird stuff will just happen to you because... well who knows why but weird stuff will just happen: ergo: apartment exploding, employment woes, and a knack for the wrong thing happening at the wrong time and so on and so on. But Jeff the Younger one of life's greatest and simplest joys will continually be ordering and eating your very own pizza, lots of other things are going to suck and be kind of dumb but being able to order the exact kind of pizza you want and then enjoying eating it while reading a good book (it'll be most likely be an electronic book on a thing called an iPad and not always a hardcover novel btw) will consistently be a bright spot in an otherwise dim part of your life. You're going to do some amazing stuff and you're going to do some incredibly stupid stuff, but that's growing up. You'll learn and fix some behavior and other times the lesson will be harder to understand and you'll repeat the mistake a few times until it finally sets in but as I mentioned you'll find brief moments of bliss in simple moments of life like the pizza you ordered, the way you wanted it, with the toppings and crust they way you like it. It's a simple thing. It's an easy thing but you'll learn to appreciate those simple moments because life and being an adult is difficult enough so look for those simple moments to string together your life. You're going to perform for thousands of people, teach thousands of people how to do funny stuff and you're going to get your heart broken more than you realize but at the end of it all and through all the junk you go through you'll realize, as you've worked for 7 years to rebuild your life because depression is a big dumb, dumb head and it almost destroyed you, that life is a beautiful and wonderful thing and you're going to be ok. You're going to go through some really bad spots and wonder why you're life is so hard and others life seems so easy. Don't compare because everyone has their own path and you never know what someone else is going through. You're going to learn that the only thing you can control is how you respond to adversity and what life throws at you. You're going to turn out to be stronger than you thought but at moments you'll still be incredibly fragile. It's not going to be easy and it's going to hurt but it's also going to be an incredible journey. Like I said, don't compare and don't get too wrapped up when people assume things about you or judge you because of the steps you take to find a path to mental wellness. You'll call this dark period your "vision quest" and you'll move around a lot in a short amount of time but let yourself take the path that you need to heal and not get down because others don't understand that's what you need to heal. They'll call you flakey, misguided, and irresponsible but most of them won't take the time to stop and ask how they can help. Again, you're only able to control the 3 feet in front of you and how you choose to respond to the messy things life hits you with. You'll be in a dark place that a lot of people wouldn't be able to survive. But you'll survive. Then one day you'll feel strong enough to go from surviving life to living life. So go and take those chances, don't play scared and order your pizza anyway you want it. Then slow it all down and enjoy the ride. So Jeff the Younger, a couple thoughts as I wrap this up from a musical you're doing right now called "The Addams Family". It runs from June 9-25 and at Springfield Little Theatre and tix are available at www.springfieldlittletheatre.org. You play Gomez Addams and he sings a song to his daughter called "Happy/Sad" about her growing up and how he feels about it. This phrase resonates with you Jeff the Younger
"Life is full of contradictions, every inch a mile. At the moment we start weeping, that's when we should smile" so smile my friend because you've got some great stories to tell from your life and you're very own pizza to eat just the way you had it made.
jeff Jenkins is an award winning comedian, actor, writer, producer and director and writes about how improv comedy helps him in his ongoing battle with depression and living his best improvised life.