Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lesson #34: Never Say Never

No, this post is not about teen idol Justin Bieber and his 3D biopic-concert film. It's about what 34-days shy of 40 years has taught me about life.

Life Lesson #34: Never Say Never

Today is an appropriate day to write about this topic. February 27, 1995, (just ten months after the Bieb was born -- eeks), I, along with $700 and everything I owned jam-packed into a green Mitsubishi Eclipse, arrived in Los Angeles to begin my quest for a career in the entertainment industry.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a journey that had actually begun many years earlier.

When I was a little girl, what I wanted to do for a living changed as often as my "boyfriends." If you asked me in kindergarten, I had a long list of boyfriends that included classmates, athletes and one Frankie Valli. But other than a short-lived dream of becoming a lawyer (which I quickly abandoned after my brother so kindly pointed out that I'd "probably cry the minute someone disagrees with you"), my career choices always stayed in the creative/media culture. My young hopes of turning into a famous children's book author transitioned into a goal of making it big as a sportscaster (during a time when there were no women to be found in the field). In my early 20s, I was considering casting or working toward becoming an agent, before I ultimately landed in the TV advertising and promotion game.

Coincidentally, now that I'm doing most of my work on the Web, I've been able to roll all of my aspirations (writing, video, casting and business) into one streamlined career, proving to myself (and hopefully others out there) that not only can you make a living doing what you truly love, you should.

But my work life is just a blip on the 'never say never' radar. Here are some bigger examples that have taught me to live by the NSN creed.
  • In 1986, on a cross country trip with my family, I was sleeping in the back of the RV as my dad drove us down the 101 freeway through Hollywood. What they didn't realize, as I snoozed, was that one of the most important things to me on our 5-week adventure was to see the Hollywood sign. I slept through that chance, devastated that I would never have the chance to experience it again. Less than ten years later, I lived within miles of that sign and often took my dog to the park just below it. 
  • When I was a single girl on the search for Mr. Right, one of my BFFs, Pam, told me she could "totally see you with a guy like Jeff MacDougall." I scoffed at that. "He's too boring." Not only have I been happily married to Jeff for 8 years, two years later, Pam married Jeff's only brother, making her my sister in law and "Auntie Pam" to my kids.
  • When Jeff and I finally did get together, we knew it was not going to be casual. So it was no surprise when we started talking kids and fantasizing about what they would be like. Our first son would be kind of quiet, love to read and carry on his dad's logical brain... the second would be more like me, with a more athletic build and robust personality. Then there was Lucy, a potentially-adopted soccer-playing tomboy who was more than comfortable kicking it with the boys. After our decision to have a third biologically was dictated by a 2006 surgery, we knew our plans would come to fruition; but how close our kids' personalities would fit our fantasies was kind of crazy. 
  • Around 2002, I reconnected with a college friend when she was out in California for a visit. When she and her husband talked about possibly moving here, I gave her the name of my realtor. A few months later, they moved 3000 miles to wind up living across the street from our house in Burbank. 
  • Also around 2002, my sister revealed to me that it was discovered she carried the same genetic mutation my mother had when she died of breast cancer at the age of 39. She also told me of her plans to have a prophylactic double mastectomy to decrease the chance of breast cancer from 87 percent to less than 1 percent. I think I used the word 'drastic' during the few minutes I tried to talk her out of it before she hung up on me. Less than four years later, I was to undergo the same surgery, after the gene and a lump were found. My sister served as my brave inspiration to get through it.
    Comment below: What has taught you to 'never say never'?


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