Archive for June, 2011
Last night I went to my ten year high school reunion, and it has put me in a reflective mood. It was fun (though somewhat strange) to see everyone after ten years apart. I was impressed by how friendly everyone was and how genuinely happy everyone seemed to reconnect with everyone. It has me thinking though about my seventeen year old self and who I thought I’d become verus who I’ve actually become.
When I was seventeen I had a lot of expectations for myself and everyone. The other day on Twitter I mentioned that I was “Trying not to compare myself to the me my 17 year old self thought I’d be by now.” My friend (@nerdgoddess) replied, “Don’t worry. I don’t think any of us live up to our teenage expectations.” I think this must be true. But I sure had a lot of them at that age. At seventeen, I thought that by ten years later I’d have made my first film, have a husband or at least a serious boyfriend, and be living on my own. None of these predictions were accurate.
At first I was feeling kind of bummed about what my seventeen year old self would have thought of me now, but on further reflection I’m really rather happy with where my life is at as unpredictable as the last ten years have been. It hasn’t all been great; don’t get me wrong. No one predicts or wants to think they are going to end up with a chronic illness. But there have also been so many wonderful things that have come of the last ten years of my life.
When I was seventeen, I was headed to the University of Southern California to study film. I wanted to be a director. Or at least I thought I did. And although I’m sure I could have found happiness pursuing that line of work, my real love is for the written word – specifically the novel. At seventeen, I never would have considered that I’d have it in me to write a whole rough draft of a novel by the age of twenty-seven or that I would be doing freelance graphic and web design. Or that I’d be designing Alternate Reality Games.
When I was seventeen, I was in the middle of a serious depression. My perfectionism consumed my life and made me miserable. Thanks to meds and therapy and a lot of hard work, I have found so much happiness in the last several years. And that is something I certainly didn’t expect at the time. In fact, at the time I didn’t even know what it was to be happy.
When I was seventeen, I was essentially an agnostic Jew searching for some meaning and connection to something larger. I NEVER would have dreamed in a million years that I would have found it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But a little over a year ago I did. And becoming Mormon has brought me a level of joy, comfort, and perspective on life I never anticipated was possible.
The last ten years have been a roller-coaster ride that my seventeen year old self never would have imagined. Sometimes the sudden drops and loops make me want to throw up, but all in all I wouldn’t get off the ride for anything.
When I was around seven years old, I went camping with my dad, and he took me fishing for the first time. I was a tiny thing, and so when I hooked my first fish, it was so strong it lifted me right off my feet and started to pull me right into the raging river. My dad grabbed me just in time. The fish got away, but I didn’t. Ever since I knew that that my dad would always be there to catch me from falling into the raging waters of life.
My dad and I are a lot alike. We are both philosophical and introspective. Since I was a little girl, we would have long meaningful discussions about life and my dreams. He always encouraged me in everything I did especially in my creative endeavors. Whether I was acting or drawing or writing or filming a movie, my dad was always my champion. He has never been much of a reader of fiction, so it has meant the world to me that he has read along as I’ve written the first draft of my novel.
He kissed booboos. He smushed spiders. He taught me to be handy around the house. He make amazing breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Over the last few years, my dad and I have gone through a rough time in our relationship. My health and my parents splitting up put a strain on our bond. Things were said. Trusts were broken. But my dad never gave up on having an amazing relationship with me. And I in turn have worked very hard to open my heart up to him again. I learned to accept him for the wonderful man that he is in my life and have given him space to be a contribution in my life which is what he wants more than anything. Lately we’ve both come a long way. We went out to dinner on Friday night, and our bond has never been stronger. Our communication has never been more open, heartfelt, and authentic. The only way I can describe how our relationship felt is with the words “grace” and “ease”.
I love my dad so very much! He has taught me so much about life and what it means to be a kind and decent human being. Happy Father’s Day!
When I look back on the most rewarding experiences of my life, they are almost all to do with serving others. Right now I’m working on a community service project called Scrapaganza. Scrapaganza is a scrapbooking event at the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles that celebrates the beauty of every life as a source of inspiration.
Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families who have seriously ill and injured children in the hospital. These parents and siblings are dealing with very difficult circumstances. Scrapaganza will be a source of joy during this stressful time in their lives.
The event will be open to all families currently staying at Ronald McDonald House. After an inspiring keynote, each family will create a beautiful scrapbook telling their personal story and celebrating joyous memories. Expert scrapbookers will be on hand to lend support and assistance.
Scrapaganza is currently seeking volunteers and donations. Find out how you can get involved!
Please help me spread the word by posting http://scrapaganza.org to your Facebook, Twitter, and etc! Thanks so much for your support!