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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I Am and What I Wanted to Be

I often say my life changed forever the day I found out I was having twins (the same day I then had to turn down a job offer in New York City), but in all honesty, my life changed a month before that.

It was Thanksgiving, 2007. I was living the life I'd thought for years I'd wanted to live. I'd made the huge jump from associate producer at a cable station in Connecticut to the morning show producer in San Diego. And not the baby morning show producer. The big guy. 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

By this point, I'd covered wildfires nonstop with no breaks (commercials) for nearly a 16-hour period. I'd manually timed shows with nothing more than a stop watch and a printout rundown (unheard of in the business). I'd produced a show live from the Del Mar races. I'd interviewed Jennifer Lopez, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and freaking John Levitz (shut up, he's awesome.) I'd made Mario Lopez sing "Merry Christmas" San Diego, for a canned promo.

One of the Dukes of Hazard dented my car for a teaser.



Now, I'm not relaying all this because it's super-duper glamorous or anything, but I was only 25 at the time. It seemed as if I was on my way, know what I mean?

Anyway, in order to get this dream job (which was actually the stuff nightmares were made of, no offense, KUSI, but I cried at your station on the daily, and you can't tell me it's me because in my seven months there, thirty two  people quit. And more than half of them didn't have anywhere to go. I was number 33.) I'd moved across the country from my boyfriend (now husband).

I thought it was a good thing. We hadn't planned on being serious and forever, and an opportunity came up, and I didn't want him to hang out in a relationship he didn't want to be in just because I wanted him to be in it. (I know, I don't know, shut up.) Anyway, I packed up, thinking we'd try long distance for a bit, then probably break up, and live our own lives.

That...didn't happen.

I missed him with a ferocity I'd never previously known. He'd come to visit me every couple of months, and each departure would leave me wrecked for days.

I once called a friend of mine who asked me how things were in San Diego. I answered that the weather was beautiful. She told me that was the saddest "the weather is beautiful" she'd ever heard. In short, I was a wreck.

Sure, I had friends (Meghan!) and made more (Laura!), but I couldn't get my bearings. There was a San Diego me and a Connecticut me, and the SD me was just a shadow, a shell. No matter what I did. I went to coffee shops. I read dozens of literary masterpieces, I talked to the neighbors and made friends with my coworkers (the ones who weren't Satan himself, tbh). I listened to French music and took long walks on the beach. I was miserable.

That Thanksgiving, I went to a few different places. People knew I was alone and kindly invited me to join in their celebrations. And around all that festivity, all that happiness, I couldn't appreciate. I couldn't do anything but excuse myself to the bathroom to go cry.

I hated everything.

And that's when my life changed. That Thanksgiving. I somehow had an inkling that what was waiting for me (well, I mean, mostly waiting) in Connecticut was something bigger than my dreams of becoming a big-time producer. I didn't know what it would be at the time. But I knew right then, that day, that I had to give up the fast-track I was on. I had to admit defeat and go home. With no job, no insurance, no apartment of my own. It was a decision incredibly unlike me, perhaps the only one I've ever made like it (I usually stick things out until the bitter end). I didn't know what was in store, but I put faith in me landing on my feet.

I got off the plane on December 13th 2007. The doctors say that's the date I conceived.

Today, in 2013, I'm struggling with three research papers, two sick kids and a hefty order for a five-course Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I haven't "worked" in three years. The broadcast ship has probably long sailed.

The last time I saw a celebrity was this morning, but it was Charlie Brown on my TV.

I'm not anything close to what I thought I would be. I've not done anything I thought I would.

And I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Thanksgiving, two years ago.



6 comments:

  1. So strange how our lives cross one another. My first ever visit to San Diego was in the fall of 2007.

    Two years later, I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot at exactly the same time that my then-unknown-to-me-and-future-husband was by car.

    I'm so glad our paths have crossed. You inspire me in so many ways. <3

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