What’s the Next Chapter in Your Story?

9/11

Somber day. Reflective. Life, at every stage, is temporary; delicate, like a piece of rice paper.

It occurred to me a few days ago—as I viewed an alarming news report on two, every day folk who (unbeknownst to them), ate tainted cucumbers this past week and consequently died—that it doesn’t have to be terrorists invading our airways taking down our beloveds; it can be as innocuous as eating cucumbers, that can abruptly and tragically end someone’s story.

We just don’t know.

Our minutes, days and weeks are precious; fleeting.

Yet, I’ve …

been struggling a lot since we returned home from our grand trip abroad. Not sure what to do with myself. What chapter will be next in my own story?

This is not new to me; I wake up every morning looking for meaning and purpose, yet I flounder. My kids give some form to my days, but they are juniors in high school now, and most often I find them with their heads buried in a textbook. I cannot do their homework for them, so I place sliced fruit next to their laptops and remind myself: they are working on chapters of their own, and leave them to their studies.

Often, I find myself wandering to the television to turn on a recorded episode of “Frasier.” Never watched that series the first time around (was raising babies and building a business), but I did visit the set from time to time. Kelsey was always friendly, and when I didn’t have my kids with me, he would ask to see a recent photo. Such a cool guy!

I am sure he doesn’t remember me now, but he knew me then. I adored him.

Found myself folding laundry last night when I heard his voice as the character, “Dr. Fraiser Crane,” on my tv. I glanced over at the screen and saw he was alone in his Seattle apartment, at his piano, tickling the ivories and singing in his familiar beautiful welcoming way. It was right then that I flashed back in my mind to one late afternoon when I worked on “Cheers.”

The cast had mostly gone home. There were still a few crew members down on the stage, and it was my job to see who was still hanging around; needed to hand the actors next week’s script if I could (to save on courier charges).

I went upstairs (behind the stage) and found it quiet. Decided to check down at Kelsey and Bebe’s offices at the far end of the building–and that is when I heard Kelsey: he was playing something beautiful on the piano in his office. And singing. He was alone.

I only stood a moment. His door was cracked open. He glanced back nodding an acknowledgment, when I slipped his script just inside the door, and he kept on singing. I am sure Kelsey never gave it another thought, but for me it is a lovely memory I hope I never forget.

Thought of this again, on 9/11, as I was contemplating the frailty of life.

So much of what we do is maintenance: buying groceries, washing dishes, taking showers, getting gasoline—and work too. While it is true, we all need to maintain our lifestyles and find ways and means to do so, it does not have to be drudgery.

You know that quote: “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life?” There really is something to that.

You will still work, but the payoff is grand when you dig what you do; when you are a part of something that makes you proud!

Shortly after I was hired on “Cheers,” my boss, David took out a file folder from his desk drawer about four inches thick, STACKED with resumes, “These are the people you beat out for this job.” I was dumbfounded. It really does pay who you know, but I never forgot that.

If you are one of my younger friends, and you still have decades of life in front of you or, if you find yourself where I am, starting again, remember, so much of your journey is about you getting to choose what you will do. Some stuff is non-negotiable, and you may not make a lot of money, but I gotta say, the best memories I have come from the years I spent working in Hollywood, doing the maintenance kinda stuff—and I started at $5 an hour!

Seems like at twenty you have forever to live your dreams, but sometimes …

Told my sixteen-year-old daughter recently: take some of your present time and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Do the fun stuff, before the other takes over.

Make choices that YOU find interesting, and I promise you will not regret it. It does not matter if you believe you cannot do it, try anyway! Just do it! The universe will help you in your endeavors.

TRUST ME. TRUST YOURSELF.

Show people who you are, not who you think they think you are.

That other quote: “We only regret the things we did NOT do” —yeah, that one is often true too. Our passions will direct us; we just have to get out of the way once in awhile and let them drive.

Make memories that will connect you to the world you long to be a part of. So one day, you can be folding laundry, and look back and say, “Yeah, I was a part of that!”

Photo: ©Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved


Renee DeMont

Renee DeMont is a SURVIVOR. She was born into poverty; spent much of her childhood homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles, and in foster care. Renee learned early on: life is about adapting to adversity. The greatest gift she ever received? No one expected anything from her. By 18, she was ready to experience life on her own terms. First one in her family to attend college. After college, her focus and determination earned her a spot working at Paramount Studios, on the #1 show in television, “Cheers”. At 29, Renee gave entrepreneurship a go and began a Biomedical engineering business out of her garage. Twenty years later, that risky venture grew into 8,000 square feet of success. She broke the cycle of poverty that plagued her family for generations. Recently, Renee turned fifty, filed for divorce (he declared WAR), and trudged through a debilitating nervous breakdown. Through therapy and writing, she reclaimed her sanity. Sold her half of the business to the ex, and now she has clarity and choices. Renee is personally and financially independent. With her new found freedom, she chooses to write in a sincere effort to reconcile her past with her present. Hopefully, through this cathartic process, the second half of her life will be led by her soul’s desire, rather than by the fears and doubts of her first half. Currently, she lives in South Orange County with her teenage son and daughter, and her high maintenance yet lovable dog, Joe. Soon to be an empty nester, she plans to downsize the big house in the OC bubble, for a bigger life in the real world. Her days are spent gently launching her almost grown children into adulthood, and passionately penning her memoir. In the mean time, you can find her essays on pain, positivity, and empowerment at: onedropofgrace.blogspot.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *