Delaying Reality

I’m kind of funny when it comes to some things.  Take lottery tickets for example.  I, like I’m sure a lot of other people, purchase lottery tickets when the jackpot gets really big.  Then it’s worth my hard earned bucks.  But one thing I don’t do is check the numbers right away to see if I’ve won.  It’s kind of crazy I know.  But until I check the numbers and am given the final dash of cold water that I’m going to have to achieve my millions just like everyone else – one buck at a time and with hard work and diligence, I’m in a suspended reality that maybe, just maybe, I could have the winning ticket.  So I continue in my fantasizing of all the things I’m going to accomplish with all that cash and of course knowing all along that I’ll be able to handle it in a mature, intelligent responsible way.  HA!

This behavior bleeds over to other areas of my life.  I was out of the country recently (did I mention I was in the UK?  No?  Hmm, I could have sworn I did.  Here come sit next to me, I’ll tell you ALL about it!) so I missed the last 3 episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show.  I have been a long time fan and viewer, going back to her AM Chicago days when I was in town for a friends wedding and she turned me on to the show.  Over the years, mostly because I was working, my viewing was hit or miss.  When I moved to Chicago though, I was back watching regularly.  The ABC station here ran it twice a day, live in the morning (she used to tape the show at the station) and then again after another of my favorite shows, Nightline.  Which meant I could watch at the end of my day.  I was back in the fold once again and my girl crush was full on.

I’ve been watching religiously, especially since she announced her retirement, collecting lessons and thoughts and memories, storing them away for the day when her wisdom and the wisdom of those she surrounds her with would no longer be a part of my daily life.  But I just can’t watch those last 3 episodes.  Because then the cold water of reality will be unavoidable.  Her show is over and it won’t be back.  I know she’s moving on to new adventures.  There is a time for everything and this time is ended. Avoiding watching them isn’t going to change anything.   I just need to sit down, watch the shows and move on myself.  But I’m dragging my feet every step of the way.

Glory Days

Spending so much time with some pretty nifty college students these past weeks took me back to my own experience at university.  I chose to go out of state to Marquette for several reasons, it was Catholic, they’d just won the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship, it was urban-at least more urban than where I came from, they had a journalism school (my first major until I realized I’d have to write every single day-so not for me!) and no one I knew was going there.  High school was a challenge so I wanted a fresh start somewhere where no one knew anything about me.  Plus the application didn’t require an essay.  Did I mention I wasn’t all that jazzed about writing?

So there I was at my new school with no friends around me, no one whose face I even recognized.  In other words, be careful what you wish for.  I was lucky to fall in with a good group of people that were pretty much like me, average students, average looks, average families, average ambitions.  We weren’t the jocks, the rich kids, the cool kids, the prepsters, the brains, the theatre kids.  In short, we were average.  I was happy with my friends and loved them for who they were, not what they did.  It didn’t hurt as much as it did in high school that I wasn’t part of the in crowd but I was still aware of the cliques.

Watching the students during the filming of my recent projects I was reminded that those cliques still existed.  There were still those that were in and those looking in from the outside.  I was reminded how painful it was to look from from the outside trying to figure out how to get in.  Now that I’m old and grizzled being in the cool crowd is not even on my radar.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t remember what it was like when being accepted was the most important thing in my life.  And the most elusive.  My heart goes out to those going through it now.  It does get better with age, the pain diminishes and is replaced with all the wonderful accomplishments that lie ahead.  I’d never give up the wisdom and perspective I’ve gained for another chance at being 18 again.  Thanks but no thanks!

Putting yourself out there

Ah, vulnerability.  The word just sounds nerve wracking.  Webster defines it as capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.  For the most part I think of it in the emotional sense.  Going out on a date with a new guy, plunging into a crowd not knowing anyone, submitting to a new agent, joining a group.  I’m pretty good at the initial stuff, the meeting and greeting.  Years of working in sales provided me with that skill.  It’s when you get past the first blush, the shiny new feeling, that it gets nerve wracking.  First dates (and I mean that in the broadest sense, not just the for real dating sense but that applies too) are pretty easy, it’s all about where you grew up, your family, college, experiences, recent travel.  The second date, if it gets to that, is where the hard part begins.  You’ve learned the surface info but don’t know the other person well enough to let down your guard.  You know you are still being evaluated, after all you are evaluating as well.  But the fact that someone is looking at you and scrutinizing you has a higher priority than what you are doing simultaneously.  You are laying it all out there hoping the other person will say “hey I like you, come join me for …”  Your emotions, weaknesses and frailties are on display for all to see.  And boy is it a palpable feeling of fear.  What if they don’t like what they see, what if the reaction is “meh”, what if I like them more than they like me?  What if?  That fear of rejection never goes away, we just get more capable of managing it.  We realize that if we give into that fear, we’ll miss out on some pretty amazing people and experiences.  Our lives then become a series of “what ifs” not incredible memories and great stories.  And we forget that no matter who the other person is, what success they’ve achieved in life, how confident they appear, they suffer from the same fear of being rejected and discarded.

Oh that sound you hear?  It’s my knees knocking and my heart pounding.  You too?