Steve Jobs said in a commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005: “I look at myself every morning and ask, ‘If I were going to die, would I be doing what I’m about to do today?’, and if the answer is no for too many days in a row, I would have to make a change.”
So. I walk into my bathroom, look myself straight in the mirror and ask myself the same question: “If I were to die, would I wait tables, look for a new agent, and clean my apartment today?”
This is the answer that comes out of my mouth. But perhaps there is something I’ve been wanting to do since the day I left school…. go back. It’s been haunting me, the thought, the question, the decision to go or not to go for years. I decide to make an appointment with an admissions counselor.
Holding my college transcripts in my hand I search for the room 26A. Top floor: Follow the signs, it says – just like some sort of treasure map. I keep expecting to see pirates at any moment swoop in here and try to steal it from my hands. So far so good.
There’s something about this university that’s calm and mature and intimate, unlike so many of the public schools I’ve walked through. I like how it feels here. It’s library quiet, peaceful, willow trees softly blowing. A woman wearing a flattering black business suit warmly greets me, and we spend the next hour discussion requirements, goals, and tuition in her eclectically decorated office. I watch as she peers down at the papers pushing her trendy eyeglasses to the top of her nose. She’s helpful. Something about her beauty and attentiveness makes me wonder if she too is an actress, but I decide not to ask. I have a bigger question floating through my mind. If I go back to school, am I giving up on acting?
“You’ll always be an actress, Alice. Go part time if you want. Take the pressure off. Do both: Why not? Life is short,” my father says over the phone as he exhales a bit from the Arturo Fuente he’s smoking while I sit curled up on my new leather couch in my new apartment. I’m still adjusting to this new place, how modern it is. Lots of stainless steel. Lots of pointed edges.
Dad continues, “Lots of actresses do it. What’s-her-name from that television show Desperate Housewives did it, right? Doesn’t she have a PHD? Man, I do love this cigar,” he calmly exhales.
So there we have it. Some words of wisdom from Steve Jobs and one of my favorite men I know — my dad. And now that I have a big girl apartment, I’m going to make some big girl choices. I will finish my film, Alice, and then perhaps start school.
Thank you, Steve.
Thank you, Dad.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.