Friday, October 7, 2016

That Day In The Office

I remember the first time my OLTL executive producer asked me to direct a whole day. I had spent months directing segments, sometimes just a few scenes, sometimes more, but I had always been just a small piece of someone else's directing day. Finally, I was being offered the opportunity to direct an entire day. My heart leaped as I stood in his office. And then it fell, as I realized that the day in question was Yom Kippur, perhaps the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. I stood, frozen, my internal calendar flipping through all the years of work when my taking off on this holiday had been non-negotiable. And I guess the flipping happened pretty quickly, because before I even left his office, I heard myself say that I wouldn't be able to do it, because it was Yom Kippur, and that I, of course, hoped that he would give me another opportunity.

My "another opportunity" happened just once, perhaps because of what I said that day, or perhaps because that's just how it was meant to be. And then OLTL was over, and I moved on--to days that felt like that day, and to other days, with other choices, some that made my heart leap, and others that made it fall.

It is hard to know what will happen when we cling to what feels right for us. Will following our heart (if that's what it is) force us to close doors (or have them slam in our face) or open windows to completely new opportunities? Will standing up for ourselves make us strong people or stupid people? Will going with our core help us stand taller, or make us fall down?

I'll never really know what would have happened had I said "yes" that day. Perhaps "yes" would have launched more of a directing career. Or perhaps "yes" would have left me no farther on my path, and no happier with myself. I would like to believe that, at the very least, I walked out of that office with the dignity and strength of having stood up for myself, even if I didn't walk out with a juicy new career opportunity. And as I tell the story now, with 20/20 hindsight, I can safely say that I did the right thing. There will be opportunities. And there will be choices. And while our path may be dotted with opportunities, our destination will ultimately be the result of our choices. And I, for one, would like to end up in the right place.

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