I’ve never really been able to grasp the idea of “all things in moderation.” If there’s ice cream around, I don’t just want a cone—I want all of it. If there’s a song I like, I don’t just listen to it once in a while—I listen to it over and over like it’s my new theme song.
My dreams for the future have also been affected by this all or nothing mentality. I have never said, “I just want a nice, modest job that pays the bills and lets me live a happy life with my family in Rhode Island.” The last 15 years of my life have basically been the same thing: “I want to live in California and write for a funny TV show. I also want to live a happy life with my family, but I would prefer if it occurred on the West Coast while I enjoyed my job creating things that appear on TV and make people laugh.”
I don’t want to write for some local New England comedy thing. I don’t want to be in your improv troupe. I don’t want to hear about your idea for a hilarious TV show.
I want to live in California and write for a funny TV show. Period. (Oh yeah, and I want to write a memoir-style book of funny essays.)
Life Doesn’t Care What You Want
I was laser-focused on this happening when I graduated college in 2005. I packed up my spec scripts and my best friend in January 2006 and knew I was going to make it. I got a job writing for a comedy website within 6 weeks of arriving in California. I thought I was awesome.
…and then we moved back to Rhode Island in July 2006.
Did I lose my nerve? Did I get fired? Did I not care about writing for TV anymore?
Worse—I fell in love.
Love makes you do crazy things. Like completely abandon your career aspirations and move back to the smallest state in our fine nation. But, do I regret it? No, not for a second.
I married that dude I left California for (Hi, Andy!) and I cannot imagine my life without him. I believe that if I had stayed in California, I would have “made it” because I don’t doubt my ability to get shit done. However, I’m also pretty sure I would also still be single and alone because I hate most guys. I would be regretting focusing on my career too closely and missing out on all that love and family stuff. (There’s also a chance I would have had it all, but I am pretending that wasn’t even an option because it’s too depressing to think about.)
Ignoring Your Dreams is Hard
Andy loves California just as much as I do, but it isn’t an option for us to live there right now. We have grownup obligations that require staying in Rhode Island until 2020 (the year, not the TV show). I am OK with this because we’re here for a damn good reason (my way cool stepson), and I have read enough woo-woo type books to know that everything happens for a reason, but this doesn’t make the job struggle any easier.
I have tried to create a more “realistic” career path that fits within the confines of what Rhode Island has to offer me. I started working in various marketing positions, thinking that at least I would have the opportunity to be relatively creative sometimes. I’ve worked my way up to being the Senior Copywriter at an ad agency like Don Draper’s next protege. And I’m still not happy. I try to tell myself it’s OK and I can just write my funny things in my spare time, but ignoring my real career dreams is HARD.
I feel like such a whiny baby about all this, and I know that everyone has to work jobs they don’t like until they “make it,” but ughhhhhh.
Does anyone have any legitimate advice? Anything other than “suck it up!”? Help me figure out what to do for the next 5 years to prepare for California. Bonus points if you can recommend an actual paying job that would be fulfilling on a daily basis. If you like weird MBTI stuff like me, I’m an XNFJ (the X means I’m an ambivert, basically 50/50 introvert and extrovert).