Friday, July 18, 2008

Taking A Deep Breath, And Diving In

Well, it's official. After 7 years in the entertainment industry, and four years in television, I am leaving the business, perhaps for good, at the end of August. 

It's bittersweet. I know most people picture "the biz" as being a horrible place where people yell and throw things all the time. But by and large, that hasn't been my experience. I have been so fortunate as to work with truly wonderful, intelligent, and funny people. I love television, and I love the people I work with. I feel inordinately blessed to have had the amazing experiences that I have had in this business.

BUT.

I've also found myself getting tugged in another direction, little by little. 

And so, I'm leaving to pursue a masters degree in a public affairs field. In London.

Yes, London. As in England.

Holy, s**t.

I am very scared. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I'd like to help people. I'd love to do more to solve the world's problems. It would be awesome to be writing more as a job job. But really, I have no clue what it will involve or where I'll be going. 

Today has been a roller-coaster of emotions. There were moments of elation and giddiness, and moments where I thought I was going to have a total melt-down. What am I DOING? I have no experience in public affairs, I was a drama major for crying out loud!! This is ridiculous and stupid and freaking terrifying. As I emailed Colin to tell him the news, I expressed some of these fears. 

And Colin, how I love him, wrote me back something very reassuring and true and so I'll share it with you all. He said, "I get the being scared. Not following your true path is a scarier option."

So I'm doing it. Even if I feel like throwing up a little. I leave LA at the end of August, and then I'll spend three weeks in India visiting my relatives, many of whom I haven't seen in five years. And then I go to London. 

For a year.

But the good news is, you all get to come with me to London! I can't pack Honda or Miss V in my suitcase, but my laptop fits nicely. And so as I learn to navigate my way through my new field and my new city, I'll still have you all to confide in. I'll be leaning on you Brits to help me figure out where I can buy a used cell phone, and I'll be leaning on the Americans to keep me from getting homesick. And I'll hope that the rest of the world reminds me constantly that this little planet is shrinking, and that the only way we're going to solve our problems is by helping each other out whether we be in Kalamazoo, Michigan or Timbuktu, Mali.

So yeah. Moving to England. I hear it rains a lot there, but, on the bright side, they know how to make a proper cup of tea.

I think I'll be okay.

51 comments:

ScienceMama said...

Hooray! Good job on finally coming out of the closet.

And Arduous, it's only a year. That's the only reason I'm letting you leave. Because I know you're coming right back.

Stephanie said...

Wow! What an adventure! It is REALLY scary to not know what you're doing with your life, but I was told yesterday that it's really courageous to just take the plunge and go away somewhere to learn more and get to know what you want to do better. So even though you're SCARED, that's to be expected but, congratulate yourself on the fact that you're going for it. :) Have fun, and drink lots of tea! (I love that drink and you're right, that might be a good reason to visit England someday...)

Green Bean said...

Yeah! Good for you. What an adventure. How life changing. How wonderful. How scary but really only in a good way. You cannot not do this. So jump in and enjoy. I'm glad I'll get to see you before you go and get to tag along virtually on all of the rides on the underground, the beautiful grey skies (I love London's weather! It is fraught with romance and thoughtfulness) and, yes, tea.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Good for you! Congratulations on making a decision to do something more in line with what you want to do with your life. Life is too short to fart around doing something unsatisfying. Trust me.

You're young and unencumbered, for the most part, so I can't see really any reason why you shouldn't do this, so stop being scared and start planning on all the cool things you'll get to experience!

Just one question - why London?

okham said...

"I get the being scared. Not following your true path is a scarier option."

AMEN. Wise words indeed.
Scary ? Indeed. Quite a move. I'd be scared too if I were to, say, have moved to America from Italy at the age of 23... hypothetically ;-)
Congratulations and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I think that you will be brilliant in public affairs, whatever aspects of it your journey takes you to/through. :0)

As a Canadian in B-Ham UK, my short term advice for when you get here is as follows:

1) Don't say Pants, unless you mean underwear. Trousers/Slacks will save you a lot of funny looks and confusion.

2) Um, "Fanny" (as in Fanny-pack) is also a word to avoid. It is very rude.

There are a lot of other words that are different, but those two are the ones that are most likely to offend a brit. Along the same lines , if you are holding up two fingers for something (I work with kids, so I have to count on my fingers sometimes), hold them like a peace sign- if the back of your hand is away from you, presentation of your index amd middle fingers has similar meaning to the 1 finger salute.

3) Freecycle seems to be very active here. Possibly a source for a "mobile phone" (aka Cell phone). Gumtree is another good site for used things online. They also advertise rental accommodations. There isn't much activity on Craigs's list in Birmingham, not sure what it's like in London.

I am here while my fiance is doing his postgrad (brit for graduate studies), and it is really easy to get home sick, especially when it gets gray out. That said, there are a lot of really fantastic people, and there are a lot of neat things going on. They really do know how to make tea.

Sorry for the epic length comment. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures. If you have any questions I can help you with, let me know (though I've been here less then a year, so there is much that I don't know yet).

Smiles,
kt

ktbaker (at) telusplanet (dot) net

Eliane said...

Congratulations. Where in London are you studying? And do you live in or do you get to choose where you live? We speak roughly the same language, (used cellphone = secondhand mobile). And you can spend a year being a bit greener because you will not want to drive in London, it's hell, and you really won't need or get air conditioning. I don't live in London anymore but did for 17 years till last year, so any questions just ask! Oh and I was going to say the weather isn't that bad, but I just looked out the window and here in Wales, we have a beautiful grey sky

Burbanmom said...

Congratulations, Arduous! I'm so happy for you! As I'm sure a million people have told you, now's the perfect time in your life to make this decision! Old enough to at least have a general idea of what you want to do, young enough to not have the responsibilities of marriage and children.

OMG, Now I'M getting freakin' excited!!! Woohoo!

Heather @ SGF said...

I think that's wonderful! I would love to live in London. You know, the best things in life happen when we take these leaps of faith. You'll be just fine!

Beany said...

echoing others...woohoo!!

This is really exciting. I really liked Colin's thoughts. I found it very inspiring too.

Will you be blogging from India?

JAM said...

Congratulations - you will love it there - that is so great to do what you want while you still can!!! It's a lot harder when you're 40 with two kids and a husband (though I guess things are still possible!)

Joyce said...

I can't wait to read your take on all this! I think you would be amazing at public affairs. And I do see the relationship with drama!

Dasha said...

Congratulations! This is going to be so much fun! Remember, you get to bring your head with you, so you'll be great!

eco 'burban mom said...

Oh, how wonderful! I love London, it's such a great place and you will have a fabulous year. I go every year in November for work, and each year I wish I took extra vacation time to just hang out. Happy trails to you! I'm so proud you're following your dreams!!!

Emily said...

Congratulations! That's really excellent for you. Of course it's scary, but it's also a fantastic opportunity!

I can't wait to hear your observations on the differences between LA vs London (USA vs UK), socially and environmentally. But first, there must be frantic packing, and then enjoy your trip to India!

Bobbi said...

Congrats! What an exciting adventure! I look forward to reading your posts from London.

Jaime said...

Oh, how wonderful for you! I know it must be scary to leave a good job, but I think people who go back for second degrees after working for a while get so much more out of the experience. (I wish I'd waited a little while.) Enjoy every moment -- of studies, of travel, of figuring out your true path.

Bugs and Brooms said...

I am SO proud of you! What a wonderful opportunity! And this will be the experience of a lifetime! I really hope that my DH will get transferred to somewhere in Europe in the next few years! I can't imagine anything more exciting than spending time abroad and I really want my daughter to experience, understand, and appreciate another culture!

You will do great! And going ahead with your plans inspite of your fears is what courage really is!

I am so jealous!!!

Theresa said...

Wow - that is amazing! You will have an unforgettable year, of that I'm certain. And the tea, oh the tea! (And a master's degree's a good thing too!)

Charles said...

Congratulations Arduous on your new adventure, taking your passion to grow is the right thing to do. And with your experience in TV and media, when you are finished you'll be more effective in getting your message out. Good luck, though you won't need it since you're making your own.

lauren said...

Congrats! I loved living in London (for only 6 months), and the time will fly.

My friend just spent a year in London getting a public health masters, and she was back before I knew it.

If anything, a year won't be long enough. :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Good luck in London! That has to be scary and really exciting all at the same time. You'll find your way, and this seems like an excellent step to take in helping others.

arduous said...

Haha! Thanks Sciencemama! You're right. It's a year long program. You won't even notice!

Stephanie, thank you! Mmmmm tea.

Thanks, GB. You're right. I can't not do this.

Thanks, Crunchy! I chose London for many, various reasons. I liked the school, and the internationally focused program. I got into a few schools in DC, but the programs in the US are very Americentric, and I believe that the problems we are facing are global ones. There were also some personal reasons but the personal situation was and still is very much up in the air, so it was really the school itself that got me.

Okham, thank you! That must have been scary, but I hope you feel you are better for all the scary changes you have made in your life, just as I hope to be better for this scary change! :)

Kt, re: the pants, oh dear. Can I say jeans? Sigh, can't the British speak American English? I know, I know, it's their language, but I like to think we IMPROVED it! ;) Just joking!! Also, thanks for the rec for Gumtree. Do people use Ebay much in the UK?

Eliane, without revealing too much, the school is pretty much in the heart of London. I'll be finding my own place. I'm sure it will end up being on the outer outer outskirts of London, as I doubt I can afford anything else. But we'll see.

Thanks Burbs & Heather!!

Beany, good question re: blogging from India. I would definitely like to, but I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have. I'm considering scheduling things to post while I'm gone, but that doesn't sound very appealing. I think I'm going to do my best to post from India, and we'll see what happens.

Jam & Joyce, thank you!!

Dasha, aw, you're sweet. Thanks!

EBM, well maybe we'll get to hook up for a cup of tea when you're in London. Or not, I know how those work things can go. But if you have time, get in touch!

Emily, yes, I'm sure I'll have much to say about the differences between the UK and US. :)

Thanks Bobbi & Jaime!

Bugs and Brooms, you are right. It will be a pretty great experience. I'm excited!

Theresa, ha ha! Yeah, I guess the masters degree will help. But the tea!!

Thanks Charles. I hope I can harness my media background as well.

You're right Lauren. Well who knows. Maybe I'll end up staying for more than a year. Shh! Don't tell Sciencemama.

arduous said...

Thanks Jennifer!

djc said...

I already had an inkling that you were going to London, because of a blog comment that one of your friends left, mentioning that you would be needing sensible shoes. London is a great city for walking in, and with the vibrant Indian community there I'm sure you'll feel a little less homesick.

I came the opposite direction - I grew up in the UK and lived in Blackheath, South London for 7 years before coming out here in '91.

Best of luck, and I'm sure you'll have a great time,
Dorothy

Melissa said...

the man is very wise indeed...not taking this opportunity would be so much scarier! You'd also probably wonder for the rest of your life why you didn't take the chance if you let your fears win out, and regret is never fun! and London is such a wonderful city, I can't think of many places I'd rather be headed if I was moving abroad by myself. I'm kind of jealous to be honest! Hope you enjoy every moment (and your visit to India!)

hypoglycemiagirl said...

you'll never really know for sure when I'll show up on your doorstep...

Student Doctor Green said...

Dude your are going to freaking love it. I lived in North Western England for a while and LOVED it. I was the happiest when I was there for sure. I freaked out when I emigrated too, but by the time I had to come back I didn't want to. Eat some Angel Delight (like Jello pudding) and Hula Hoops (ring shaped delicious crisps) for me.

organicneedle said...

ow exciting! You'll be great. I can't wait to read your blog from across the pond. Just please don't go all Madonna on us and start typing with a British accent.

arduous said...

Dorothy, ha! I know, Honda kinda let the cat out of the bag a little. But whatever, no big deal.

Melissa, thank you! I'm excited (for India too.)

HGG, looking forward to it.

SDG, mmmm, can't wait!

Organic Needle, haha. Don't worry. I promise not to get all "favourite" and "colour" on you. No unnecessary "u"s will be harmed in the making of this blog!

ScienceMama said...

Hey! You're not allowed to stay longer than a year.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

What a wonderful adventure! I went to seminary at the age of 34 and have changed careers(always human service though) several times. I LOVE change. We just moved from Kalamazoo to Chamberlain, SD for my wife's first career change. Best of luck, you'll have a blast!

arduous said...

Sciencemama, okay okay, I was just kidding!!

Thanks Equa Yona!!

Going Crunchy said...

Yea You! You are going to be just FINE.

Remember, "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained." - Vince Lombardi

I lived in Swindon for a bit and loved the England experience. I wouldn't trade my experiences of living overseas for anything. It will open your eyes, especially when see how much "greener" things can be.

Good vibes- -and if you need tips on how to get around I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can.

Just follow your heart on this, and watch where it takes you. Shannon

Jennifer said...

Wow! WOW!

I must say... you are inspiring me just a bit. I NEED badly to be NOT scared of following life paths... of not taking the comfortable path.

Thank you for sharing!

Donna said...

Hey, good for you! It's scary taking a leap like that, but often it doesn't end up being half as scary as you thought it would be. I hope you have a wonderful time!

Verde said...

WoW! Big changes - congratulation! I'll lookforward to reading about the transitions

Natalie said...

Wowza! That's great news.

Regardless of what you need to tell yourself or your friends at this point, don't feel that this journey to London MUST be a looped path "home" - beginning and ending one year later in LA. Let England be just one step on your path.

I look forward to reading all about it!

Fake Plastic Fish said...

Very cool and exciting! Glad you'll be coming up this way before heading out.

arduous said...

Thanks Shannon. I am looking forward to seeing how different/easier/harder? it is to be an eco-nut in London.

Jennifer, glad to inspire! Thank you!!

Thanks Donna & Verde!!

Natalie, as always, you are right! I am trying to keep as open a mind as possible. :)

Beth! Yeah! Can't wait to see you!!

The bean-mom said...

Oh, WOW!

Congratulations on your new path, your new move, and the courage to follow your dreams! I'm looking forward to reading of your adventures in London...

EcoGeoFemme said...

Awesome! I can't wait to hear all about it.

Jennie said...

Awesome. I'm sure you will do fine there.

Mad Hatter said...

Best of luck on your new path! I'm sure you'll do great and have a fantastic time too! London is one of my favorite cities...will you be posting a sign-up sheet for people who want to come visit you?! :-)

arduous said...

Thanks Bean-mom, Ecogeofemme & Jennie! MH, haha, I DON'T have a sign up sheet, but perhaps I should start one!!

okham said...

I hope you feel you are better for all the scary changes you have made in your life, just as I hope to be better for this scary change! :)

You know, Arduous, this is where the theory of "parallel universes" (borne out of gross misunderstanding of actual quantum mechanics, hence fascinating :-) comes into play. Every so often (I guarantee this) you'll be wondering about that parallel universe in which you have made a different life decision, and you will be curious to know how things are for you there... as long as you are enthusiastic about what you are doing in the only universe we know of, this type of thinking won't bother you too much :-)

Me, the only thing I wonder about the parallel universe is whether these horrible verification letters exist there too...

CindyW said...

Don't throw up! Jump up for joy! I am so glad that you pulled the trigger. I get that you are leaving what is familiar. That prompts the exclaim - what the heck am I doing?

But you have to do it. Why? Because you do not want to regret later that you did not do it.

I adopted this philosophy from a friend of mine years ago - when facing the choice of regretting having done X and regretting NOT having done X, pick the former.

Congratulations! Just don't forget to write about life in London. I will live vicariously through you.

Anonymous said...

"Jeans" are fine :0) Ebay is definitely used, but I don't have any experience with it so I don't know how it compares.

Cheers,
kt

CAE said...

I've never lived in London, but my sister and several friends live there, and I seem to like it more each time I visit.

For second hand goods, take the tube to the posh neighbourhoods and check out the charity thrift stores! For non-consumer activities: the big museums are all free now.

The other great thing about London is that you can get to lots of places (including Paris and Brussels) by train. It's not always cheap, but you should be able to get some kind of student travel card deal. I highly recommend checking out my two home towns of York and Newcastle, but especially York, which is lovely and only 2 hours by train from Kings Cross. Ooh, and try to see Edinburgh. And go to at least one football match, in Newcastle if you can but in London if you must ;)

You're going to have so much fun! I may be coming through around Christmas to check up on you!

Chile said...

Wow! Big changes. I drop out of the blog scene for just a few days and the world turns upside down. Have a fabulous adventure! Oh, and study hard, too. ;-)

arduous said...

Okham, I am always wishing I could see what Sliding Door Arduous would do! But since I can't know, I guess I just have to trust in my decisions. I don't think you can get away from the verification letters. Unfortunately I think they exist in every dimension! :)

Cindy, great life philosophy. I will try to adopt it!!

Thanks, KT! Jeans it is!!

CAE, yeah, I'm excited. I think in many ways it will be easier to be green in London. Except for all the traveling I will want to do. The trains are SO EXPENSIVE and unfortunately there isn't a student rate, just an under 25 rate. Bah!

Chile, serves you right for getting sick! J/K!! :)