I hadn’t realised it’s been over a year since I last posted. That year has flown by and seen such dramatic changes to my life that I don’t know where to begin. Bear with me as I’m going to bring you up to speed. You might wonder what on Earth all this has to do with Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy but you’ll see……..
I’m now 5 years post bankruptcy, 4 years post becoming a discharged bankrupt. Only 1 year to go and it will be removed from my credit history too. When I think back 5 years ago I really had no idea what the future would hold (to be honest I still don’t) but I didn’t think for an instant that bankruptcy would be the catalyst to me living my dream.
My lifelong ambition has been to be an professional actor. It didn’t happen before as I was young and naive and wouldn’t take up the offer I’d been made to attend drama college in London because it meant leaving my then boyfriend! If I only knew then what I know now! However, after becoming bankrupt my attitude changed from “I can’t risk losing everything” to “I’ve got absolutely nothing else left to lose” and whilst pursuing various other ventures and trying to keep the wolf from the door I’ve quietly been pursuing my passion, my lifelong ambition.
Last year I got my equity card and just last month I was accepted onto Spotlight (for those of you not into the Arts, you just need to know that’s BIG!).
The strangest thing though, whilst following my passion, my other dream came true. Some 16 years ago I fell madly in love with someone who has held the title ‘The Love of my Life’ for all that time, even though we split up after only a year together. For years I’ve said “one day, we’ll be back together”. I had no idea how or when and all of my friends thought I’d completely lost the plot, pining over a long lost love who was probably half way around the World (in fact at one point he was living in Canada and even now his work takes him all over the World for weeks at a time).
It was whilst I was performing in a professional production (the first I’d been offered) in a small theatre in a seaside town in the South West of England that said love of my life found me. He’d gone to the theatre to book tickets for a different production and there was my face glowering at him from a poster advertising the production I was in. He recognised me and set about tracking me down (apparently I was the love of his life too – he realised that after we’d split up and lost contact). I’m still not sure whether to be offended that he recognised me from this poster, it’s hardly the most flattering of photos!
Anyway, to cut to the chase, I ended up moving to the seaside town, into his bachelor pad and have been here ever since. In the meantime I’ve had a cancer scare, there was no cancer but I still required major surgery, started writing poetry as part of my recuperation and am looking forward to getting my life properly back on track in September. I’m appearing in a play at the end of October and have been booked to take part in a Children’s musical Show during the Christmas period.
If you’ve followed my blog you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in the Universe and everything happens for a reason. Looking back I can see that everything has led to this point. If I hadn’t become bankrupt I would never have considered trying to become a professional actor in my forties. I would have ended my days regretting never having done it. I won’t say that my path to following my dream has been easy and it’s obvious to anyone that I took a less than direct route but that’s simply the path I’ve had to take.
All of the trials and tribulations of the past 5 years, some of which I’ve shared here, many of which I haven’t, are all part of that path and the experiences will undoubtedly come in useful at some point in my new career. I believe it was Steve Jobs who said “You can’t join the dots going forward, you can only join them looking back”.
Taking time to reflect on how far you’ve come since being declared bankrupt, and then congratulating yourself on getting this far is something I implore you to do. It’s far too easy to spend our days beating ourselves up for actions taken in our past. Today is the start of the rest of your life. You can choose to start looking forward and taking action right now to pursue the life YOU choose. I talk a lot about looking foward and taking positive action in my A-Z of Bouncing Back.
I feel I need to add here as well that I’m not sitting here in some ivory tower, having earned a vault full of money in the past 5 years, I haven’t. Whilst I’m not on the poverty line, being a professional ‘jobbing’ actor, doesn’t pay the same as being an A-lister or having a 9-5 job. But this is the life I have chosen. I am happier now than ever and my dreams never involved having oodles of disposable income. All I wanted to do was to be paid to act and end up with the love of my life.
I’d say bankruptcy has given me a pretty solid foundation on which to build the rest of my life. It’s certainly changed me as a person and changed a lot of my beliefs about money. Whilst it wasn’t the best period of my life, I can certainly say it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be.
There is Life after Bankruptcy – sometimes it just takes a while to realise it.