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Homegrown Hollywood: At 30, life not how I thought it would look

A few weeks ago I came to a startling conclusion.

I’m 30 years old, and this is not how I thought my life would look.

I know, I know. As my (older) fiancé likes to remind me, 30 is incredibly young.

But that truth doesn’t change the fact that when I was younger I would think about my life at 30, and it was not quite this. Not quite a life where my career wasn’t nailed down, my finances weren’t perfect, and the place I lived was not the place I wanted to spend my life.

I thought I was supposed to feel different now. A bit more stable. A bit prouder.

In my 20s, all of that seemed to matter so much less. Did I have the perfect job? No, but I had friends! Could I afford to pay all of my bills? Not usually, but no worries, I’d just get a credit card! Did I know what I wanted to do with my life? Nope, but no biggie, let’s live in a tent in Indonesia and sell bead necklaces!

It is much less cute and Bohemian to be 30 and still wonder how you will make your rent or if you are going to be successful at the thing you’ve been working at for 10 years.

It stops being charming and just becomes hard.

With my recent career shift to focus more on writing than acting, I am desperate to find success and find it now. It obviously doesn’t work that way, but even small steps forward don’t seem enough. I am feeling rushed, hurried, late to the party and eager to set off down the right path.

No matter how many scripts I turn out or how many people I send them to, there is an amount of waiting required – especially in this business – that is excruciating. And I have noticed the pain has become even worse now that I’m older.

To clear my head a bit, I visited home last week for some much-needed Midwest family time.

One day, my parents, brother and I took the boat out onto the lake. Almost before we began, dark clouds started rolling in big and deep, and soon we were back under the boatlift canopy waiting for the storm to pass.

My dad turned up the music, my mom opened the snacks, my brother poured some wine and we laughed with each other as the rain made the lake come alive around us.

In that moment, I remembered the storms of my childhood that would roll across the prairie – unlike anything I have ever witnessed in southern California. I would sit and watch the rain fill our ditches, looking out over the wheat fields to see if I could see a sliver of sun peeking through.

It was those hours spent inside, waiting for the rain to stop that taught me about patience. I know there will be sun, but there would also be long, dark storms. And in those storms there was nothing to do but wait. Wait with the absolute certainty that the sun would shine again. And when it did, it would be warmer than remembered and much more precious.

And sure enough, after an hour of waiting in the boat, there was the sun. The air smelled warm and fresh, and we headed back out onto the lake. I smiled and skimmed my fingers along the warm water.

Soon there would be sun for me, too.

I was sure of it.

Jessica Runck, who grew up in Wimbledon, N.D., and graduated from Concordia College, is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Visit www.jessicarunck.com for more information.

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