#013 | The value of a moment

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I knew I wanted to start off this year’s series of podcasts with a quote that encouraged you and me to reflect a bit on the year we just left behind.

On December 31 at 1:37 am –so the very beginning of the very last day of the year– as I got in bed and prepared to go to sleep, I got my last rejection notice of the year; my last letter informing me of yet another failure to obtain something I so desperately coveted; another letter informing me that somebody I was trying to impress letting me know that I did not, in fact, accomplish that goal, and that they didn’t think I was good enough.

At least, in the heat of the moment, that’s how I read it. I cried for about an hour, maybe two, thinking about it over and over, which means I got to sleep closer to 4am than 2, but it was the holidays, so…

But I woke up the next day with my mind on watching some college bowl games, seeing my family that evening for a New Years eve celebration, and trying to figure out what I was going to eat–because when you don’t eat gluten, and avoid animals and all animals products, while trying to balance the appropriate intake of protein, carbs and fat, figuring out what to eat can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.

But I didn’t overlook the fact that I was not thinking about the same thing I went to sleep crying about! This felt great because this was at least the tenth time in 2015 that I had received such information. The first time, which was much earlier in the year, I received a phone call from one of the biggest film festivals in the country regarding a short film I’d written and directed saying, “We don’t normally call candidates, but your film was so good! You’re going to receive a rejection letter, but I wanted to call because I didn’t want you to just see that and not know how close it was.”

They went on about how the committee was so split and so on and so on. Needless to say, I was out for a few days, constantly thinking about this and tearing up every time it crossed my mind. Not because I wanted to win an award; I’d won awards before that meant nothing in the long run. But this–winning this–would’ve come with a set of benefits that I–sitting in DC with absolutely no money, no connections and no apparent path to getting closer to this dream–would not otherwise have.

So like I said, this happened time after time after time through 2015. But on December 31, as I looked back, I realize that my recovery time had gotten better with each one. I had gone from about 3 days of sulking to about 2 hours! And I know it’ll be even shorter the next time, and the next, until these kinds of things won’t really affect me much at all. It’ll be something I experience and accept as just part of the process.

So, even though if you’d asked me this sometime last year, I would not have been able to admit it, I can say now that I value all of those moments of defeat because each of them literally made me stronger. But more importantly, they forced me to think about what’s important. In this case, it’s these humbling memories of defeat and disappointment. Because the thing is: I had no doubt about, and throughout all of this, I never once doubted, my talent. So what was all of this about?

It wasn’t about my talent. I’m going very far, I’m on that path; I can see that. However, it wouldn’t do me or anyone else any good if I get where I want to go and I’m all weak and overly sensitive, and focused on the wrong things like winning awards instead of positively impacting people through my art.

As hard as it is for me to admit, especially in the position I’m in now, I must admit that it just wasn’t time. Not yet.

So think about it: Are you disregarding those undesirable moments as just another case of “shit happens?” or “Why me?” Again, it took me at least 10 times last year to go through something I hated in order to find solace in it as a valuable experience.

Today’s assignment: Find the value in those moments that suck. I know it’s hard, and I also know that it may not happen right away. But think back. Maybe something happened last year or at another time in your life that you can see now as having affected you in a way that made you better. Write a few sentences about how you’re closer to greatness because of something that seemed small or irrelevant.

Today’s word is by Dr. Seuss: Theodore Seuss Geisel was born March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA. He was known for writing and illustrating children’s books under the name “Dr. Seuss” that are part of children’s bookshelves even today. He published over 60 books during his career, which have spawned numerous adaptations, including 11 television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical, and four television series.

013 | Dr. Seuss