Dominic Monaghan Reveals Why He Never Watched an Episode of Lost : 'I Don't Need to Repeat Them'

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Dominic Monaghan
Dominic Monaghan

Vivien Killilea/Getty

At the start of his career, Dominic Monaghan didn't expect to be successful as an actor.

But as fate would have it, Monaghan's career ended up taking off when he was cast as Frodo Baggins's cousin Merry Brandybuck in the Lord of the Rings series in 2001, and later, Charlie Pace on Lost in 2004.

Now, in this week's issue of PEOPLE, the actor, 45, is opening up about finding success in Hollywood — and why he's made the cautious decision to avoid watching his many projects.

"In my early to late 20s, I was still struggling to think, 'Is this something that I could do for the rest of my life, or am I eventually going to have to grow up and get a proper job?'" recalls Monaghan. "I think sometimes you could miss huge elements of your career by worrying about what the next job is."

With time and maturity, Monaghan says, he eventually learned to remain present and enjoy the ride— which is why he rarely tunes in to his own work onscreen.

"It's just not something I do," he explains. "I lived those things so completely, I don't need to repeat them to have the experience."

Dominic Monaghan
Dominic Monaghan

Everett Collection

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While it's been about 15 years since Monaghan has seen any of the Lord of the Rings films, he admits he's never watched a single episode of Lost, the ABC sci-fi drama that ran for six seasons until 2010.

"I'm aware that it was a good show and I'm aware that clearly people are continuing to like it now," he says. "People will come over to me on the street and they've written, 'Not Penny's Boat' on their hand or people will tell me that it was their favorite character or that their kids have just got into it."

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"It's certainly found an audience and continues to do so," he continues. "It became kind of a piece of pop culture. I was happy to be involved in a show that for a while there was the biggest TV show in the world."

RELATED VIDEO: Dominic Monaghan Shares His Fondest Memory from the Set of Lost

Today, the British actor — who is currently starring as detective Paul Sarno in the AMC+ drama Moonhaven, and as a Sherlock Holmes villain in the Audible podcast series Moriarty: The Devil's Game — says he's very grateful for his life.

"I'm aware that being on-set makes me a very fortunate actor," he says. "I've learned to live in the moment."

For more on Dominic Monaghan, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here