Sunday, July 4, 2010

You are extraordinarily special. Just like everybody else.

Being the typical Gen Y’er filled to the brim with pop culture references and propensity for extreme multi-tasking, I learned early on that I could be anything, do anything and go anywhere in the world simply because, I was me. That’s right. Just because I was myself and offered the world my presence on a daily basis, I was taught I was special and that there was no one else in the world quite like me. Movie after movie. TV show after TV show. Fable after…you get it. It was like the burgeoning child entertainment industry banded together to make me feel so great so that I couldn’t look away from the next half-hour program, or resist playing a favorite VHS (in your face, BETA!) until the tape wore thin. This world of programming didn’t ignore that in life, problems happen. Sometimes they are small and sometimes they are big — sometimes so big they are worthy of a “very special” episode. But, no matter what, each problem was easily wrapped up in 30 minutes, a to-be-continued episode or within a three-act structure showing us the world was once again ours to storm and conquer.

Being the naive, innocent, idealist I was (and, yes, still am), I believed it. Yes, right up until my first real-world exciting opportunity in the form of the ever-coveted New York City television network production internship. It was thrilling. It was my first step in my soon-to-be wildly successful, fame-tinged, money-out-my-Laubotin heels career. During our orientation, I met scores of people. People just like…me. Dozens of young women and men going out there to claim their right to be anything, do anything and go anywhere. Yes, me and all of the unique, special people exactly like me. The numbers of career dopplegangers multiplied as I moved through college and into the real world. As time went on I realized getting that dream job was not going to be as easy as I thought. And then when I landed my dream job(s) over and over and over again they were not really the dreams I imagined. Damn it, childhood entertainment programs, this is not what you led me to believe. It's a rough day when you first realize your life may not be everything you planned.

This realization sent me into a bit of a rut. What's the point? What if I'm not good enough? I can't deal...oh shut up. I seriously couldn't believe what I was hearing. Yes, hearing. I talk to myself...roughly every three seconds. These negative thoughts crept in and once they get in they are annoying little f#cks to get out. Woe is me.

And that's when my crushing, heart-breaking lesson came in handy (that phrase sounds so perverse). But, seriously it did. I'm just like everybody else. Everyone gets moments of negativity. Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time. Everyone struggles. And, everybody hurts...sometimes. R.E.M. in the house. I could either wallow in my self-pity and do nothing, or get a frackin' grip and make things happen. Yeah, your novel might take years to write. But, ready for another cliche in your face? Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. So keep on moving. Keep on working. Keep on keeping on. This is your life you are wasting by spending time...worrying about wasting your life.

And you know what else? Yes, everyone is special, even if there are many other wonderful people just like you. Now let's all hug and encourage each others dreams. Mister Rogers is smiling down upon us.

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