This post is one day late, but I have another good reason. (You’ll eventually learn that “good reasons” and “excuses” are often indistinguishable from one another. I imagine that will be right around the time that you fail to turn in some homework or something.)
Yesterday, I went to work half an hour early; I got out half an hour early; and I drove straight through from Syracuse to Buffalo (about two hours and fifteen minutes) in order to have my first practice with ComedySportz Buffalo.
As I mentioned in my last letter, I’m in Syracuse. You and your Mom are still in Indianapolis. This has been a very hard four weeks for all of us. I spent two of those weeks in New Jersey for training, and two here in Syracuse. Meanwhile, your mother has been responsible for all of the chores, all of the child-rearing, all of the everything including trying to keep the house in order since we’re trying to sell it. Things have been moving very slowly on that front, and we still don’t know how long it will be before the two of you can join me here.
I miss doing ComedySportz. I actually did get to play a little bit more a couple weeks ago, when I drove from New Jersey to Virginia to play at ComedySportz Richmond, and I realized that leaving improv behind just wasn’t an option. I hadn’t thought it would be, but that trip confirmed it for me.
So I took the time to drive to Buffalo, spending more than twice as long in the car as I did at practice, because they are My People™.
I got home late enough that I basically went straight to bed.
Here’s why I would argue that it’s a good reason as opposed to an excuse: I needed that trip.
My advice this month is going to be tied up in all of this, and it’s kind of in three parts. The first part is the same thing I always tell you: Be who you are.
ComedySportz is, for me, where I can be who I am outside the home. It’s the closest I feel, other than with you and your mother, to being comfortable. And here’s the reason: ComedySportz is about improv, and improv is about the philosophy of “Yes, And.”
“Yes, And” means that you accept what is, and then you add yourself to it. It doesn’t always mean that you’re happy about what is, but you accept it. There’s a difference. If people are following that philosophy, then it gives you absolute freedom to be who you are. (When people are following that on stage, it gives you absolute freedom to be whatever character you want to be, which is almost as good.) So the second part of my advice — and I’m completely serious about this — try to learn improv. Even if you never set foot on a stage, even if you never perform for anyone but your fellow students, even if you don’t enjoy getting up in front: learn the philosophies of improv. I honestly, genuinely found it life-changing when I started learning. It will give you confidence, flexibility, and leadership skills. It will make you a better listener, a better friend, a better person. If you really devote yourself to understanding the idea of improv, you will love yourself more than you did before. I believe that with all my heart.
And ultimately, it may not be your thing. That’s okay. I’m not one of those parents that feels like you need to enjoy all the same things I enjoy. Which is what brings me to the third part of my advice: find Your People™.
(The trademark thing is just a dumb thing I find funny. Ignore it.)
One of the amazing things about the internet and social media is that you can find people who can understand you, who can appreciate you, and who can enjoy you, even if you can’t find them “in real life.” (I suspect that by the time you read this, there will be a lot of reasons why “real life” and “the internet” have kind of blended a bit.) If you can find people you can spend actual, real, physical time with, that’s best. If not, find them online. (Be careful, of course; it’s harder to see when someone is dishonest online.) But these days, I firmly believe that there’s never a reason for you to feel like you’re the only one who _________. Whatever that blank is, there’s someone out there who is/does/wants/knows the same. There’s someone — probably lots of people, actually — who will make you feel at home. Find Your People™. They’ll help you through an amazing number of things.
ComedySportz has become My People™. And yesterday, having said goodbye to you after a weekend together the day before, I desperately needed My People™.
I’m sorry that means your letter was late. But when you get to the age where you find Your People™ and they become closer to you than I can effectively be, you’ll understand this completely. Sometimes the family that loves you is exactly what you need; but sometimes, you need other people, too.
I love you so much, Sage. Your mother and I both love you so incredibly much. I miss you fiercely — you and your mother both. I know that there will probably be at least one more letter written while we’re still living apart, and I hate that. I hope that maybe somehow that can be the last one. I LOVE YOU!