41 Years Later I Got My $#@! Together
I remember the way I used to talk and the things that I held important when I was in my early twenties. I was going to be a millionaire by the time I hit thirty. Actually, I remember my brother and I drew up contracts involving who would be the first to have an exotic sports car by that time. I’d say he’s closer with his Yamaha motorcycle than I am with my Honda Accord. As for the millions of dollars? Well…
I was unstoppable in my twenties. Or at least I felt I was unstoppable. I was going to be a famous director and have a house on Mullholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Maybe one in France as well. I’d be rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s “A” crowd and sending my mom a new Jaguar every December. I bet there are a lot of you reading this and smiling. Sound familiar? Maybe not involving show biz but I bet you used to think you’d take the world by storm. I think it’s perfectly normal to have higher than realistic expectations when the gate opens and you’re off and running. But as quickly as that happens it’s truly amazing how quickly it all changes.
In my late twenties I had achieved some of those expectations. I was rubbing shoulders, getting cold stoned drunk actually, with many of Hollywood’s “A” crowd. I was knee deep in my roll as a production assistant/ assistant director/ script coordinator/ set designer, etc. on several American feature films and TV shows. I was getting advice on sex from Samuel L. Jackson one day and ducking Gary Busey the next. I inadvertently appeared on Entertainment Tonight leading Aretha Franklin to set and next was telling Will Ferrel that I didn’t need his help handling some verbally abusive bums but I appreciated his offer. I was on my way to making millions and achieving those “realistic” dreams of my twenties.
* Insert the sound of a needle dragging on a record player *. I reached the end of my film career sometime in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century (I like using that term “21st century”. Sounds so futuristic). I got a lot smarter since my twenties and came to realize that I could never support a family doing what I did then. Wait a second. A family??? Where the hell did that come from?! I wasn’t going to get married or ever have kids. I was going to party with movie stars, make out with lingerie models and drive Lamborghinis up and down the street all day long. Funny how all of that can change in the blink of an eye. So, I left show biz for good and fell back on career plan “B”. Career “B” is stable, recession-proof and will provide for my family for the rest of our lives… or mine anyway. Oh, and as far as that career I can’t say what it is. I just don’t talk about it online. Yes, it’s that cool!!
OK, I’m digressing here from my main point. I used to think the pursuit of wealth and fame was for me but I’m glad to see I evolved past those expectations. I’m not saying it’s wrong to seek out fame and fortune but there’ll come a day when you’ll ask yourself if it’s right and if it’s truly worth it. Only you will have that answer.
My experiences at any point in my life were certainly no waste of time as they contributed to making me the upstanding dude I am today (I always laugh when I use the word “upstanding” and “me” in the same sentence). And I’m sincerely very happy where I am today. If nothing ever changed as long as I live that’s perfectly OK with me. I’m blessed with a beautiful wife (it’s our 7th anniversary today by the way) and one perfect little girl with another pendingly perfect girl due in May. We have a roof over our heads, food on our table and the bills get paid on time. Funny how the things I used to think important change so quickly. It’s probably due in part by thought of perhaps having fewer days ahead than behind. I’m no longer trying to figure out who I am or what I’m capable of. I know all that now.
I will forever pursue my goal of becoming a “known” cartoonist but always my family comes first. Everything else is secondary. I wouldn’t do anything to upset the delicate balance of what I’ve worked so hard to build.
After 41 years I finally got my $#@! together!