I make mistakes. Quite a few of them, in fact. To anyone who has ever read my blog this should be fairly self-evident. And the more I’m aware of my mistakes, the higher the standard I will hold myself to, and the higher the standard I hold myself to, the more I become aware of my mistakes.
They’d right a children’s book about me too, but they just thought the shtick with the mouse and cookie was more catchy.
It’s tough to remember that I am growing slowly and steadily until something– something like last week– happens that illustrates for me the vastly different and healthy way that I now view the world.
Last week I met a childhood idol of mine for coffee. I’m sure most of you have never heard of this particular person in your life but I’d grown up looking up to him.
Humor me and for a second imagine this for yourself. Imagine the worst possible way this could turn out. Your hopes and dreams are crushed and your stomach fills with ice as you swallow the realization that this person is not who you thought they were and this will always affect your enjoyment of the art that they produce in the future.
That’s exactly how it went. Except for one tiny difference: I felt like a million bucks.
Let me back up. I’d met this person briefly several months ago and had ever reason to believe that, to my surprise, he was a kind, compassionate person. Excited and enlivened by the prospect of a celebrity with a capacity to love, I made an effort to befriend him which culminated and ended with a cup of coffee last week. Suffice it to say that his goals were somewhat different.
“So why did you suggest we grab coffee? Because that took a lot of guts considering that we don’t know each other.”
I knew how he finished the sentence in his head: “considering who I am.”
“Knew that question was coming. You seem to have a natural propensity to care about people. Like every time I’ve seen you interact with your fans you never talk about yourself unless specifically asked and always ask them about their lives.”
He laughed. “That’s mostly because I’m tired of talking about myself.”
I looked at him blankly. Well, that answers that question. I pretty much twiddled my thumbs awkwardly for the rest of the hour. There I was sitting in front of the person who I had imagined conversations with since I was 14 years old and I had absolutely nothing to say to him. I just sat there while he talked at me about how he doesn’t believe in monogamy, how he planned having his children so they would be of minimal inconvenience and I thought to myself, I have no interest in this.
In the past it would have taken me fifty phone calls to close friends, 11 pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and three months of a deep, dark depression to recover from such a disappointment.
Now, it’s a gift. I don’t have any feelings of resentment or condescension or anything toward this person. It makes complete sense to me. If I had been that talented, if I could have impressed people that easily and successfully, I’m sure my lifestyle would perfectly match his. I’d have no need to look for anything more in life.
And I am SO grateful that I’m average. I’m grateful that I’ve experienced a real, deep pain in my life that pushed me to find some deeper purpose of living. I’m so grateful that I’ve never had the opportunity to get distracted by wealth, fame, talent etc. I’m so grateful for the remarkable and real friends that I do have in my life and for my incredible husband. I’m so grateful that I recognize the value in the things in life that take time, energy and commitment.