10 Years Ago… (life is what you make it)

Jan 1, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Thousands of Stories, Three Actors

Ben at a Little Britches rodeo awards ceremony 10 years ago

I dislike hate loathe abhor detest am not a fan of New Year’s Eve. I think it brings with it too much arbitrary pressure to be incredible. Incredible is a choice. It is not reliant upon a certain second at the end of a year. It is not reliant upon others (though it does involve them). Incredible is within your control. It is your choice.

Ten years ago last night I was at a rodeo in Colorado Springs. I was on a horse (that’s right, as in “giddyup giddyup let’s go”) team roping. Yes, your city-boy, web-designing, L.A. actor was aback “Moose” (my horse at the time) doing a rather decent job of heading (that means roping the horns of a cow–heeling means roping the back two legs–for all you non-cowfolk out there). However, I was immersed in an environment that did not fit my soul. And while I had become quite proficient (read: spent a LOT of time practicing) at all things rodeo, it was not what I wanted to do with my life. I remember that Y2K NYE like it was yesterday. I looked around and was not happy with my circumstances. The country life was not for me, homeschooling had run its course, and no one should be in an abusive family environment. Roughly a year later I made the choice to leave that life behind. I moved to the city and began an entirely different journey.

I am sitting here astonished at how different my life is 10 years later. Had you come to me 10 years ago and said that within a decade I would graduate at the top of my class, get college paid for, be an actor in Los Angeles, own two companies, and have a social network of the most amazing people in the world, I might have laughed in your face. Yet here I am.

I write these things with fear of sounding boastful, but also with the conviction that all of you have the choice to become what you want to become. To achieve what you want to achieve. The choices are myriad and not always easy, but they add up. They make a difference. And please remember that to fully see the benefits of these choices takes time (note that it took a decade to get from rural cowboy to Hollywood actor…and I’m still at the beginning of that journey). Be gentle with yourself.

While these choices can be difficult, I will say that become progressively easier. Moving out of my mom’s house to go to a large public school seemed like a rather daunting task. But by the time I was deciding to move 2000 miles away to a new city to pursue a career in the worst economic times of my life, the choice was easy. These choices proffer themselves daily, and one-by-one they may seem small. Together across the course of a decade, though, they add up. Take the plunge. Follow your bliss. Tell us about it in the comment section below. :)

The next decade is going to be epic. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with me on this journey.


Ben Whitehair is the Los Angeles contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.