I’m like a stunt woman jumping up from a speeding semi to catch the skids of a strategically placed helicopter in flight in order to climb into the cockpit mid-air and pilot that bad boy into the sunset of success – except one hand slipped. Now I’m dangling by my lone vain-strained grip looking down at where I came from, then up at where I need to go. The force of the atmosphere against my body is like a windsock in a hurricane that shreds one shoe clean off. Uh oh. I picked a bad day to opt out of wearing a belt. Wait. Did I tell my husband he needs to take our daughter to violin today? Shit, I left the wet clothes in the washer again. OMG! I forgot to tell the producers on my job that they can’t do an interview outside at that location because it’s at the end of an international airport runway and I have three finals this week!
I muster the strength to swing my flailing arm up to grab the skid for dear life with both hands. As my slowly slipping grip taunts my chances of sunsets, I wonder, is success even a real word?
Welcome to mid-life.
Two years ago, I put the blood, sweat and tears of my first career as a Producer and Writer in TV, Events and Communications on hold to pursue a wild idea – go back to school to get my degree. I received my AS Degree in Math and Natural Science on the way to an Astronomy degree, until reality set in. Lady, you’re 46. STEM? Really? So I decided to pivot and go for an English degree. Go down all the paths, that’s what I apparently say.
My life circumstances had me on my own supporting myself at 17-years-old before I graduated high school. While I did briefly attempt college, my options then were limited. What I lacked in support and finances, I made up for with an abundance of passion, vision and drive to gain a foothold in the career I was aiming for at the time, the entertainment industry in Hollywood. After landing my first few movie and TV jobs in assistant-level positions, I was quickly promoted, launching me into an over two-decade career as a Producer and Writer in television production, live events, marketing and communications on projects for Comedy Central, Netflix, HBO, The History Channel, Spike TV, Food Network and many others. I worked side-by-side with celebrities, managed millions of dollars, tireless schedules, countless clients and crews, and was paid to travel throughout 17 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It was more than I ever imagined for myself, and yet, there was more meaningful work for me to do with all I had learned.
As the mature woman and mother I am today, it is my wisdom and seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes that has shed light on what has been buried inside all along. Writing is my greatest natural talent. Having the courage to pursue it has been my greatest hurdle.
I don’t know if all of the time, money and effort to change careers will pay off, especially now, in times of global pandemics, anxiety, and all of humanity wading into the frightening unknown, but not knowing is not unfamiliar. I didn’t know what I was doing when I pursued a career in the entertainment industry, but I succeeded in making that dream a reality for over 20 years, won two Emmy’s and traveled the world. I didn’t know what I was doing when I got married, but I still took that leap and will be celebrating my 17th wedding anniversary this year. I didn’t know what I was doing when I became a mother, but now I have a kind, smart and talented 12-year-old, who I am so proud of I could confetti the world with her praises.
I can say there is one thing I do know. Not knowing the outcome, but having the courage to do it anyway, is how you, and how we all, will discover who we really are.
For some light reading and potential inspiration, please consider visiting this blog, where I store my musings on parenting, marriage, social commentary, science, travel, my former career and starting over. My message is one of perseverance, overcoming the obstacles that hold you back, and not letting your mistakes in the past define who you are or who you want to be. We are all capable of being true to ourselves and our life’s path, whatever, and whenever, that may be.