Sometimes You Need to Readjust Your Goals

Stefanie Townsend

About a month and a half ago, I decided to take a break from acting. I decided to focus on my job and on other important priorities in my life.

I didn’t realize that the time I spent away from acting would cause me to be more critical and aware of what my next steps would be. To be honest, I’m not sure what they are.

I’ve become hesitant to make life plans. When someone asks me about my future, I just shrug. I don’t have any because they change. Constantly. And that includes my plans regarding the future of my acting career.

I had everything mapped out. I would go to high school, graduate college, then go off to some big city and make it big. Seventeen- year-old me wanted to be famous by twenty-seven.

Then reality hit. I spent an extra year in university. I went to an incredible conservatory for two months and gained new skills. I realized that I wasn’t ready to go out and audition in Los Angeles quite yet.

None of these were in the plan. How could they be? How could I have predicted any of this?

As I continue to readjust, as I continue to look upon my experiences, as I continue to just go with whatever comes at me, I feel lost.

 Photo: Scott Rylander

Photo: Scott Rylander

It was difficult to take a break. Acting and theatre were all I knew for years. I felt I was letting my younger self down by not pursuing the exact same goals I had as a teenager. I was afraid I was giving up, settling.

In fact, I was doing myself a huge favor.

I needed to take time to slow down and think about what I was doing. I’m not the best at being mindful, I will admit, so having more time to myself to reflect what I really want and really need is beyond helpful. What I wanted when I was younger may not be what I want as an adult.

There is not one way to be a successful actor. There is not one path for all of us to take.

Realizing that was one of the most freeing experiences I have ever had.

Telling myself that breaking into Hollywood or Broadway may not be what I want to do with my life after all was one of the most terrifying.

It was an important realization to make.

As we grow older, our priorities change. Our needs change. Our goals change. It’s OK. It’s natural. It’s the progression of life.

Having a talk with yourself and being honest with yourself will be one of the most helpful things you will ever do.

Readjusting your goals doesn’t mean you’re giving up. You’re not settling. You aren’t throwing in the towel.

You are freeing yourself to live the life that you deserve.