Ten years ago I started writing the memoir Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex--the book this column is named after. Seven years later it was published. That same year, my husband John and I started pitching a tv show based on the book. After just about million hours of meetings, making press kits and designing websites, writing outlines, summaries, one-sheets, making deals, deals falling through, conversations with agents and lawyers, producers and studios, we finally wrote the script for ABC with Warner Brothers producing. Rewrite after rewrite later, I finally liked what we'd written.
Wednesday, I got a call that the network passed. Feeling down and ill-equipped to handle the death of my dream and the end of an era, I wrote my friend Fabio in Switzerland about how I was feeling...just like some of you readers write me:
ABC passed! We were really in the running up to the very end. So much for my positive thinking. I really did wish it would happen and actually, despite the incredible odds, thought it would. Now I have to lay that project to rest. I wish it had had a bigger life.
Time to start something new. This time, I hope it doesn't take nine years.
Such a bummer.
What SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?
Here's what he said...
I'm sorry they passed. It is the network's loss. And our loss, as the TV-viewing public. There's a lot of truth in your book. Truth that deserves to be shared.
As for your question: what am I going to do with my life? I must say (emphasis on the must) that this is a question I ask myself all the time. "What am I going to DO with my life?"
As if I were not already doing IT. I mean, does the part of life-living that involves kissing/playing/suffering/caring/worrying/feeling exhilarated/then bored/then happy/then sad again... don't we deserve to credit ourselves with all that? Isn't THIS, and nothing more than this, what we know in our hearts will be flashing before us when our bodies give out and the final curtain comes down?
When I ask myself the "DO" question and start feeling depressed I "do" this:
I imagine a world without resumés, without virtual "professional success measuring sticks," without people we know who are more or less accomplished in their careers. I imagine the peace of mind of feeling that I don't have to do anything with my life except live passionately and with integrity. And then? What I "do" then is focus on the fact that THAT world--that ideal--already exists, but only if I want it to.
But--the question is--do I want that? Am I ready for the clicking realization that comes from clicking together my ruby slippers? Do I really want that ideal, that peace, that simplicity, that quiet-mindedness? Or do I value my ambitions above all that?
Think about it, Jen, if you are working for your SELF (and not for the recognition of others), does it really matter if it takes 9 or 19 or 90 years for the realization of your next big "project"? Don't rush yourself! Be calm and quiet and serene. Never let the rush inhibit the free flow of all the magnificent creativity that everyone who knows you already knows you possess.
My advice to myself--which I share with you--is that the universe is ALWAYS conspiring to help you, Jen, even when it seems that quite the opposite is true. Allow yourself the time and space to get in synch with that universal jive or force or beat or whatever. If you quietly surrender to your creative intuition instead of trying to dictate to it, then you can't go wrong.
Well, anyway, that's what I think. And I just hope it helps.
All my love,
Follow Jennifer Lehr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@goodjobmom