Happy New Year! And welcome back! I hope your 2018 is off to a fantastic start (and that you’re not too sluggish from the holidays)! My previous two posts - “take time to reflect” and “small things matter” - are partially from where I drew inspiration for today’s post. The holidays are the time of year I like to reflect back on all the things that transpired in the previous year in order to better inform the upcoming year. Life is all about forward movement and growth.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why I wanted to start this blog and where it would be going in 2018. My hope is to continue to focus on the importance of positivity in an entrepreneurial world (especially in the world of comedy and improv). I’ve received questions over the past year as to whether or not I write about positivity because I need to stay positive, but the truth is that I have a great support system of friends and family that know they can depend on me when I need them and visa versa. Not everyone has that, though. I consider myself to be very lucky, and I am incredibly grateful for that luck. Not everyone has been able to have all the experiences I’ve had in life because not everyone has a family that is as supportive as mine - a family that has always allowed me the independence to discover new things and to make my own mistakes - a mom that let her little ballerina pick up a basketball, a dad that drove his daughter out west, and siblings that gave me a barometer against which I could judge what was funny or not. And as much as I like to look back over past blog posts and see what I’ve written, I don’t do this entirely for myself. I do it for people who need a reason not to quit or to give up on their dreams.
Last week, I attended an improv practice with some friends where we ran Harolds. The practice, itself, was a pretty standard practice. Afterwards we all went out to lunch, enjoying each other’s company and eating delicious Salvadoran food. A handful of us decided to throw caution to the wind and head to a casino to play some poker. I’m not really a big gambler (in fact, I didn’t actually gamble at all that night), but I was down for the experience and the opportunity to hang out and watch some NBA basketball and some college football games.
It had been a pretty long time since I’d been in a casino - at least over a year. I’ve never been that big into gambling, but I did previously work in a casino in Atlantic City before moving to Los Angeles. Working in a casino comes with its own set of challenges, especially because I was in a Customer Service position off the main floor. My job consisted of mainly hotel-and-spa-related occurrences with the occasional gambling-related situation, consisting of getting players in touch with their hosts.
I’ve never personally enjoyed or truly understood gambling away hard-earned money with the potential to receive nothing in return. Yes, I’ve enjoyed friends’ poker nights, I bet on the Broncos to win Peyton’s final Super Bowl, and I have even played some Craps, but I am also comfortable with the fact that I am one who delights in calculated risks as opposed to games of chance. There are people, however, who gamble amounts equal-to and greater-than what some people make in a year.
When these people are winning, they’re on top of the world and nothing can stop them. When they’re losing, however, it’s an entirely different story. I hope you never have to talk someone out of committing suicide because they feel like they’ve lost everything. I’ve done it, and it was one of the most difficult experiences I’ve encountered in my (then 23 years of) life. I didn’t continue my employment in that professional environment for too long after that phone call. I did receive some nice Beyoncé hand lotions for “elevating the experience,” but no amount of soothing hand creams can take away your memory of someone else’s voice sounding so lost and so hopeless. I also wish I could say it was the only time I encountered someone feeling that lost and hopeless, but it wasn’t. Luckily, both those examples concluded with happy endings. But not all of those kinds of scenarios have the same outcome.
Many people I’ve recently encountered grasp onto this Nihilistic view that nothing matters, but I don’t think it’s true. Life is incredibly meaningful once you find the things that bring you joy and the things that provide you with a sense of purpose. People ask me why I want to act, write, do comedy, make up silly songs, etc. - the list goes on. I do it because I can and because I love it. Most things really need no further explanation than that, but sometimes providing more backstory, adding more information, and filling in the blanks can help others in ways you didn’t realize it could. I pursue my dreams because I am able to and because it makes me happy. I’ve seen deep darkness in people, and I’ve helped some people out of really dark places. If making up a silly song about poop helps someone laugh in a difficult time, that’s an absolute win. If talking/writing about hard stuff I've gone through helps others get through hard stuff, that's an absolute win. I strive for Win-Win.
There is so much natural beauty in the world and the universe, and there is so much good in people. It's magic that everything is made up of energy and matter. A few years ago I wrote a speech for one of my best friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner and used a lot of space metaphors in order to show how connected everything is and how small our problems are in the grand scheme of everything. And that’s it, right? We’re all connected and going through this life experience and journey together. I may be an entrepreneur by trade, but I’m a human being, too, who has experienced some stuff she wishes had happened differently. But that’s not how life works. And if you have experienced something that could help another person, why wouldn’t you want to help? The most basic thing we’re taught from day one? Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
So, yes, I write this blog for myself because, in a way, it adds to my feeling of purpose. But moreso, I write it for you and for whoever else needs to read it at any given time. Most days in a person’s life are mundane, but there’s beauty in that peace. Once you’ve come close to or experienced chaos, you’re thankful for the magic of the mundane.
Here’s to a peaceful, joyful, happy, and hardworking 2018. Love yourself, love others, follow your heart.
Thank you so much for reading, and, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, please subscribe below, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really challenging questions and even better feedback from a community all over the world. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! I’m here for you, and I love hearing from you, too! You’re the best, and you have everything you need inside of you! Please believe it! Starve your ego, feed your soul - and follow your heart!