Today I was driving to Camarillo with my colleague Hannah, whom we call “Speak the Truth Hannah” because she, well, she speaks the truth. She is phenomenally clear-eyed and direct as well as enormously competent at her job. All in all, a great hire and a good friend.
We were talking about a recent visit over the holidays by my Dad and his wife, and I was telling her how incredibly adept at reading, gathering people’s histories and retaining them my Dad is. He has an amazing and instantaneous ability to recall facts and relationships about people he has met and has long term histories between those people which he can call up from his brain with seemingly no effort. He is an amazing man.
I told Hannah that it wasn’t until this Christmas that I had actually found out what Dad had studied in his undergraduate years at Yale. I realized it over lunch during their visit. “American Studies,” he told me, and then went on to tell a funny, self-deprecating story about how he had sort of stumbled into the department as a last resort, having always loved history and literature up until that point but having been rebuffed by the English Department.
Hannah made a comment about how he must have been upset that I decided to go to Princeton rather than to Yale. I acknowledged that indeed my theatrical career goals might have been much more effectively served had I gone to Yale, but that it was a bit of a rebellious streak that led me to Princeton.
Then the phrase “everything for a reason” popped into my head. I started to think about the what ifs –
1) If I hadn’t gone to Princeton, I wouldn’t have begun stage managing in my sophomore year, which turned into my career
2) I wouldn’t have met Louisa at the coke machine in the student center and gone to Italy for 13 months right after college, which was a life-changing trip.
2) If I hadn’t gone to Princeton, I wouldn’t have met Susan Smith who then called me back from Italy for my first professional theatre job on a Hal Prince directed show, “Play Memory”, where I met my husband Jimmie.
3) If I hadn’t met my husband, we wouldn’t have our beautiful son, Chris, who sent me this photo of himself at the office today.
4) If I had gone to Yale, I probably would have ended up on the east coast, making theatre in NY, but wouldn’t have known all the fantastic people I know here in LA, certainly wouldn’t be teaching at USC.
Everything for a reason.
Have you thought about the reasons for the good things in your life today?