Choosing a Wonderful Life
By Allison Beasley
When tragedy strikes a person’s life, inevitably one’s life changes. Those changes can either define your life negatively or you simply try and learn from it. In January my 68-year-old father went to see his doctor with some mild stomach discomfort. He was immediately hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare form of bile duct cancer. We lost him 12 days later. I was devastated. Immediately my life shifted to helping my grieving mother try to put the pieces of her life back together. She gradually became ill herself. More devastation. The six months after my father died was the most challenging time of my life. I became a caregiver to my mother and no matter where I was I felt like I was neglecting someone – if I was with my mom, I felt I was neglecting my husband and children. If I was with them or working, I felt I should be with my mom. In August, she became so ill that we called Hospice in. My mother died at the end of August, and I was left wondering how all of this happened. When I rang in the new year on January 1, I never realized 2016 would be my own private hell. It was time to do some soul-searching.
Reassessing my life, I realized I needed to get busy doing the things that I love. There isn’t time in life to agree to spend a lot of time doing things I don’t love. I was asked to help out with production in Acting Out’s “Sleepy Hollow” in October. I had been a guide for a few years, but this year I gladly accepted the challenge of working more on the back end of this outstanding production. I loved every minute of it!
Working behind the scenes of Sleepy Hollow has transitioned nicely into being Assistant Director for Acting Out’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I performed in this show for two years, but now I’m spending time in love with the production aspect of the show. Being on the other side of this production gives me endless joy! Watching these actors transform their parts over the course of rehearsals, and being able to give input into what will become the final product is absolutely heaven for me now.
We all have our own tragedies that affect our lives everyday. George Bailey understands how tragedy can almost define who you are, if you let it. But you can’t let it. When it’s my own time to go, I hope that I’ll be able to look back and say that I wasted no time doing things I didn’t love. Living life to the fullest, squeezing every bit of joy out of this existence – that would truly be a wonderful life. And I intend to have one.