Change your day by trying something Nerve-Racking!

When you were a kid and adults asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, did you tell them you planned to become a molecular biologist, or did you tell them the truth: “I wanna be a rock star/actress/ballerina”? We’re not likely to get cornered at parties by people asking us what our dream job would be, but if somebody did ask, what would you say?
It’s okay to admit that you’ve still got stage lust. The lure of the limelight rarely fades, even after you’ve become a landscape designer and mother—or grandmother. No matter what else you’ve done, the performer in you will always want to perform. The question is, will you
let her try?
The prospect of auditioning and putting your talent on the line for others to judge may be as scary now as it was when you were eleven. But for many women, the feeling that it’s “now or never” overrides the jitters. Really, what do you have to lose, other than more time?
“ Y ou’re giving a performance, not taking a test. You can get up and give a performance!”
—Kathryn Joosten, age 68
Kathryn Joosten vowed in her twenties not to let time slide, after watching her mother die of cancer. “My mother died young and angry because she had put off many of her dreams,” she says. “I realized there wasn’t going to be a ‘later.’ I was so impressed by the bitterness that she
had.” When Joosten was divorced at forty-two and struggling to raise two boys on her own, she decided there was no better time to try her hand at acting.
“My first career was as a nurse, for nine years. Then I married the doctor . . . and ten years later I was on my own,” Joosten says. “I now had the rest of my life to deal with; the plan I originally had just went out the window.”
So she started creating a new one. Her local theater group was holding auditions for a production of Gypsy at the time, and Joosten tried out for it. She was uniquely qualified: Her aunt, a former Mafia girlfriend, had taught her the bump-and-grind as a kid. She knew she’d
ace the audition the minute she took the stage. “I can’t imagine where I got the guts to sing in public. But it was a character, and I knew I could do it. It was a lark—why not?”
To support her acting habit—and her children—Joosten worked three jobs. She was a greeting lady for Royal Welcome, a wallpaper hanger (author Dave Eggers says she did his bedroom when he was a kid), and a location manager for films. But she wanted to take a year to see if she could launch an acting career. “I had a little bit of success in the community theater and managed to get the attention of an agent,”
she says. “I went to my sons, who were ten and twelve, and said, ‘I could get a job in an office, but I would really like to try acting and I need your permission.’ I was very lucky; both of them said, ‘Go for it.’”
Joosten is sixty-eight now, with one hundred television and movie credits under her belt and an Emmy on her mantelpiece for her recurring role as Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives.
“You take your life in your hands and you make it happen,”
she says.“You don’t let it happen to you.”

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