Monday, February 23, 2015

Worth It; Or, Another Lesson from Layla June


 

I posted an instagram the other day about Miss Layla June's tendency to throw middle of the night one-pup parties. She's the organizer of the event, and the only one who knows about it ahead of time. She rests up all day so that somewhere around 2 am she decides it's time to play. She crawls on my head, plays with my hair, sneezes and hacks up furballs, fluffs the blankets, bothers Henry, and jumps on and off the bed several times.

Layla June is not what I expected that sunshiney Saturday in Hollywood when we first met. My sweet, gentle darling was a ninja in secret, waiting until I signed the adoption papers to really get comfortable. That being said, she is a blessing and a gift to me in countless ways. Every time she drives me crazy or does something naughty, it really doesn't matter in the end. Her love outweighs her frustrating qualities. It's hard, but she's worth it.

That got me thinking: isn't everything great in this world part of that category? The things we never expected to be so hard, or take so long, or be so challenging, very often tend to be even better than we expected and totally worth it. I asked on instagram and got answers like:
  • "My 3 month old daughter! She's not at all what I expected and neither is motherhood! It's harder than I could have imagined and yet it's totally worth it, like you said!"
  • "Marriage! Even the second time around. We have to be careful of the fairytales that tell us at the end of the live story we live happily ever after. We have to work on the in between."
  • "Recovering from brain surgery. I thought I'd be done by now and instead, I'm still in the thick of it. I had convinced myself that it was all about attitude but evidently my body disagrees."  
  • "Madison. Madison is harder than I ever assumed and she's only a dog." 
That last one is from a fellow dog mama and made me laugh quite a bit.  But LOOK at these answers. These are hard things. Marriage, raising another human, recovering from brain surgery for goodness sake. Hard things that are so much more worth it than we imagined.

In our insta-everything world, we very often want what we want when we want it, like, right now. Now! Immediately! How great would it be if babies came potty trained, or we all instinctively knew how to do the things we want to pursue, or degrees were able to be picked off trees? Great, yes, but also kind of sad. It's in the earning, the navigating of these struggles, that we find the deeper joy in what we want.

Pursuing an acting career is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Luckily. But it is so much harder and more complicated than I thought it would be. For years (yeaaarrrss) I have wanted to be a part of Pilot Season, the time when all new tv shows are pitched and a pilot is made to determine if it will be a new show on a network. This year is the first year I am auditioning for pilots. Guess what? It's not at all what my conceptual idea of it was. I dreamed of pilot season as a time where I'd be in LA, driving from studio to studio, glamorous, looking great, and it being so simple. The reality of it is an insane amount of work and memorizing pages of lines very quickly, rushing from audition to audition, putting myself on tape nonstop to be sent to LA production teams. Last week, I even hid when I saw another audition come in. And yet, it's totally worth it.

Then there's Love. The conceptual idea of love is ever so delightful, right? Raising two rescue dogs out of their fears and behaviors continues to be incredibly challenging, and yet - so much love. Unconditional love. So worth the frustrations. Loving other people is not always an easy piece of cake but we know that's it's worth it in the end. A friend once told me he wanted to be wealthy, or at least set financially, before meeting anyone to be in a relationship with. I noted how much more it might mean to build up a life together, to grow side by side into success and wealth, that he didn't have to be "perfect" before allowing love into his heart. You'd have thought I just explained the meaning of life, his eyes got so wide. And yet, how often do we see folks in their 20's and 30's pushing off serious relationships until they get their lives "together", or have more money, or a higher title in the office, or some kind of success. In the meantime, they give up on people who they really care about and are missing the experience of something that, yes, can be really hard, yet is really incredible and worth navigating. Our expectations of relationships and what they're "supposed" to look like crush the chance of real love before we're even out of the gate. We can't control the order in which we are given things in our lives. But we can embrace each one with it's unique struggles and triumphs. Walking away from the hard things guarantees missing out on lessons and love carved out just for you.

It can seem tempting to give up on your dreams, your loved ones, your monetary goals, that crazy idea you have in the back of your head, but don't. If it's really hard, it's definitely worth it. And when you get those little glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel, it makes it easier to keep going. Let each blessing hidden in your struggle turn into a stepping stone to launch you to the next step along the journey.

Okay, you tell me: what's something that has been unexpectedly hard in your life but is totally worth it? And if you have any hints on getting a Chihuahua-Ninja to sleep through the night, I'll take those, too ;) 

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