It’s all personal

I hope you can forgive me for another movie reference.  As an actress, so many of my touchstones come from the world of cinema.  As I noted the other day in my post There’s No Place Like Home, I watched the movie You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.  It’s a wonderful movie and one that was fun to revisit for a while.  It’s funny how things hit you differently at different times.  Since I’d seen it a bunch when it first came out, I was reacquainting myself with some of the great writing Nora Ephron did on this film.  But this time, a section of dialogue jumped out at me which it hadn’t done before.  It was when Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) goes to Kathleen’s (Meg Ryan) apartment after her store closed because he’s found out she’s sick with a bad cold.  She’s not very gracious about the visit and is not polite to him at all.  He says to her “It wasn’t personal“.  She replies “What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?”  He doesn’t quit know what to say to this challenge so he replies very eloquently “uh, nothing“.  She retorts, “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

This stood out to me as if Klieg lights were shined directly on the text.  My whole life I’ve been told I take things too personally.  In business, when I was passed over for a promotion for someone that was still in the training program, I was told this was nothing personal, just the best decision for the business (really?  it had nothing to do with the fact his salary was half of mine?!).  In acting when you are the product, you work your entire career to not take the rejection personally.  You are too blond, brunette, tall, short, green eyed, female, whatever.  How on earth those comments can’t be taken personally is beyond me!

It is personal to me as I’m sure it is to the majority of people walking around.  Dismissing customers, comments, complaints & suggestions with a flip “It’s not personal” does a disservice to the integrity of a human connection.  It’s saying your priorities are more important than the other persons.  Sometimes it’s an easy cop-out to a difficult situation or a way to avoid a truthful confrontation.  But don’t fool yourself, it may not be personal to you, but it’s very personal to the other person.  Remembering that fact may help find a better way to express yourself.

There’s no place like home

Do you ever get that uneasy feeling?  The one that comes from the realization that not enough right is happening in your life.   So of course you need to shake things up, make some stuff happen, just get SOMETHING moving in a direction, any direction will do.  You can call it restlessness if you want .  Or maybe it’s dissatisfaction.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t feel good.  So by golly let’s make a change.  All of the sudden you start considering things you’d never consider before, like oh I don’t know, maybe moving to New York or LA.  After all, I am an actor right?  Why wouldn’t I make a move there?  Makes perfect sense to me.  Or sheesh, I haven’t had a decent date in the back half of this decade so of course it’s a good idea to ring up an old flame to reignite something that is long dead and buried, thank heavens.  I’m sure all of the things that weren’t quite right then have all resolved themselves.  Or you quit your job, fire your agent, finally tell off your sister.  Anything to move the needle.  Get out of the funk that has overtaken your life.

I found myself in this exact situation recently.  Things aren’t moving as fast as I want them to in most aspects of my life.  I’ve got plans after all and a timeline which I expect to be met.  And when reality crashes into my expectations like 2 atoms at the new Hadron Collider, it really sends me into a downward spiral that threatens to overtake me.  So add to this lethal mix 2 New York based movies, Sex and the City and You’ve Got Mail with all their pretty pictures, nice people, beautiful apartments, perfect wardrobes, snappy lines, and you have the makings of a hare-brained idea to chuck all this and move to NY.  Brilliant right?  The rub is, when you get to NY or wherever you run too, once you unpack everything, you realize you’ve brought with you the same problems you had in the old location.  The only thing different is the zip code.  And you’ve compounded it once you realize you’ve left behind the support system you’d painstakingly built in your old locale.  So now you have to start all over building a new one and in your spare time, deal with your problem all by your lonesome.

It is said if you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him what you’ve got planned.  Whatever it is that isn’t right in your world, you have to fix it before you can move forward.  It sure would be easier to run away.  Sometimes being a grown up ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.