When people ask me if I'm still acting, I haven't found the right answer quite yet. The physical truth is, no I haven't been on stage in some time. The spiritual truth is, of course I'm still acting, because I'm an actor.
The way things get measured in our artistic lives is a fun, little game. In your early 20s, the way you measure things is by ranking. Numbers. Cold, hard facts. I have been in 10 shows, I have 6 callbacks, and 2 auditions today. So, yes, I'm very much acting. But then, ya get older and realize what you're measuring is not the creative act at all. Rather it's a facile calculation you hope will add up to what seems like success.
The numbers don't illustrate the art.
I believe sometimes we just know things. Somewhere in our constitution, we're holding a future we can't see, but we can feel. Our cells are doing this. Most of the time these knowable futures don't make it up to our brains, but they live in our bodies. So, yes, I know I'm an actor because I know I haven't seen a stage for the last time. What I don't know are the cold, measured facts of where, when and how that moment will be. What I don't know if it will be deemed "successful" in the eyes of the industry, my alma mater or even myself. But then again, that's not for an artist to know. The only business we have is to make art.
Rilke says something beautiful about this (as he usually does):
Allow your verdicts their own quiet untroubled development which like all progress must come from deep within and cannot be forced or accelerated. Everything must be carried to term before it is born. To let every impression and the germ of every feeling come to completion inside, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, in what is unattainable to one’s own intellect, and to wait with deep humility and patience for the hour when a new clarity is delivered: that alone is to live as an artist, in the understanding and in one’s creative work.
These things cannot be measured by time, a year has no meaning, and ten years are nothing. To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow.
It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquillity, as if eternity lay before them.