Tag: humanity

Someday? How about NOW.

Someday? How about NOW.

“Don’t you worry, your time will come.” “Oh, it just hasn’t happened for you yet.” “It’ll happen when you least expect it, you’ll see.” There are many variations of this phrase that we all know too well. So, whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s, how do we deal with goals, states of being, or desires that seem so out of our control?

While I don’t have all of the answers, what I’ve discovered is this: we must commit to the quest of happiness in our current state of being. Too often we get caught up in constant and tiresome efforts to find eventual happiness. Someday this, one day that. I recently chatted with my dearest and closet friend about the “single life” dilemma. “You’ll find your person someday.” “Once you stop looking, they’ll be right in front of you.” While I don’t entirely disagree with those theories, we cannot always be living in a state of “somedays.” This. THIS is the challenge. A struggle that I, too, face. While we work toward our dreams, what are we doing to find joy right NOW? How are we being present with our current selves?

Here is what it comes down to: Awareness and presence.  There is only one way to stop the worry, to stop the uneasiness, to stop the pain. The reality is that we really do not have a clue what will happen. You might not find your person for a very long time. Or, you may grow and change and find out you’d rather travel and see the world. OR, you might find someone in three years who opens doors to things that were once unimaginable. Bottom line? Forget all of that. Make small decisions right NOW that bring you joy. The rest will come when it is ready. I just finished watching 30 minutes worth of live videos of Mariah Carey on You Tube. Does this correlate directly to my dream career? Not at all. However, it makes me smile. It brings me joy, and it is a choice that I make for myself. So for now? Book a vacation. Write a short film. Watch your favorite movie. Try a new activity, join a new group that meets Mondays at 7:30. Go on a date, take a day off, buy a new piece of artwork. Light a candle. After all, these things are in our control. And in turn, we’ve chosen joy when we commit to these things.

As you approach this holiday season, try eliminating your state of worry. Don’t be happy “eventually.” Choose positivity, and more importantly, SPREAD IT. Talk to your cousin that you’ve lost touch with, inspire your nephew. Show your grandmother pictures from your year. Go to a work Christmas party. Tell someone a joke. Read a silly magazine. Share your passion, and as Shania Twain would say lately, live right NOW. Give a hungry person 5 dollars, binge-watch your favorite show, or try a new recipe. These decisions make us smile. So….what will you commit to?

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When we stop hoping, a weight lifts.

When we stop hoping, a weight lifts.

I know what you’re thinking….what kind of blog post title is THAT? Stop hoping? If you’ve not already clicked the back button, then hear me out: It’s time we stop hoping for things to happen and start declaring them to be inevitably true. Allow me to elaborate.

For the past two years, I have hoped and dreamed of living in Los Angeles as a working screenwriter, composing and scripting stories that change lives as much as they have mine. I would get home just in time to check Twitter, following every television writer I could find. Liking, retweeting, messaging, and wishing. I always had the same thought: I hope I can write a story like him or her one day…live in LA, get my badge, park in the garage, walk on set, and arrive at my job. Walk into the writers room, holding a coffee, and get out the whiteboard marker. I kept hoping, dreaming, wishing….but was I actually DOING? Was I getting closer to this goal, or was I “too busy”?

Now, as I sit here typing “Fade Out” on my second original TV pilot, there is still a lot of hoping happening over here. But it is a different kind of hope. I look back to July. Step 1: Bite the bullet, move to LA. Step 2: Work tirelessly, because what was the alternative? Step 3: Stop hoping, and start believing it to be true. The advice I’ll never forget came last month from my current boss, an extraordinary producer and woman who made her own opportunities and works endlessly to fulfill her goals: “Jake, you need to stop hoping. Don’t wish that one day you will be one of them. Starting imagining yourself in a writer’s room. Do it. Just imagine that you will be there. It’s absolutely possible.”

So, I leave you with this: The minute we get off Twitter, the minute we stop wanting to emulate ones we deem “successful,” the minute we will assume success for ourselves. In this minute, we become solely our own person. Does that mean we can’t have idols? Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes from cover to cover, and she’s the reason I started writing. But when we challenge everything we think we know to be possible, we get excited for that alarm clock in the morning. We stop sitting at a coffee shop checking our likes on Instagram. We realize that, instead, chatting with someone in line might bring about an opportunity next month when they remember your smile. A weight lifts when your hopes become realities that you have assumed, realities you’re determined to make happen. But once you’ve assumed this truth, there’s no turning back. You commit, you sweat, you cry, you smile, you laugh, and you pretend that you were meant to be in every hallway you walk down.

As I start an ambitious spec script for Grey’s Anatomy, I don’t “hope” that one day it leaves my computer. I make certain it does. I assume it will. I step into the next day, having no clue what it will bring, but expecting it to be genius. Because at the end of the day, what is the alternative?

A Writer’s Secret Ingredient? Quality Time.

A Writer’s Secret Ingredient? Quality Time.

Isolation. It is what many might assume a writer needs. Time, a quiet space, focused attitude, no distractions, etc. Sure, those things are necessary when we are ready to write something down. But do we rely solely on our imagination and our keyboard keys? I would say not.

It has been said that “write what you know” is some of the worst advice to give to a novice screenwriter like myself. I completely understand this argument, to an extent. A writer must have imagination to create a fictional realm that will intrigue and inspire an audience. But here’s the thing: From where do we draw imaginative ideas? Are these truly from scratch? Not quite.

Our imagination is rooted in personal experience. Shonda Rhimes, a writer I look up to a great deal, spent time in hospital rooms and was fascinated by the atmosphere and dynamics. Thus, she imagined her own hospital. 12.5 years later, Season 14 will premiere on ABC. The same can be said for all of my fellow writers. Our imagination is an extension of what we learn when we spend quality time. Quality time absorbing the imperfections of humanity. I was celebrating the 4th of July earlier this week with a group of family and friends. So many conversations, emotions, stories, experiences, challenges, and triumphs were shared. It was a simple set up, but such rich conversation. This quality time is what inspires us to write.

Quality time is what inspires us to tell stories that connect with an audience. To remain isolated is to remain inexperienced in the struggle that is every day relationships with strangers and loved ones. We must value the lessons we learn from quality time and use them to impact an audience. After all, everyone’s got a story.