The land of make-believe brings a measure of comfort to me as a phrase, because I’m a lifetime disciple of our Lord and Savior Mr. Rogers, but it feels pretty far away from my current reality today. I’ve just spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for one ear bud before realizing they were both in my own ears. My current desk is a literal step stool covered in renovation grime (we’re not renovating) and I’m definitely not wearing a bra. My sweats don’t match my sweatshirt, and for some reason that’s bothering me, but not enough to do something about it. My right foot is asleep, and both feet are freezing.
And at the same time, I’m answering messages and sending out requests and for thinking, well, I brushed my teeth so that’s gotta count for something, right? And I had a Covid test so I could go to a distanced gathering with other people who had a Covid test and I’m supposed to get pictures taken today even though I have roots for days and I ate four cookies at midnight so my mid-40s belly looks like I’m blissfully pregnant with two packages of cookies including the packaging itself. Think: rectangular, somehow.
But the whole thing is, nobody has to know this stuff about me. I mean, obviously you do, because I can’t shut up, but I’m still, on paper, keeping it together.
And that’s all that matters.
There’s this weird undercurrent of belief that we have to have our shit together to be able to achieve goals in life. And it’s absolutely never been true. Particularly this year, when so many of us have found ourselves displaced, even when we did EVERYTHING RIGHT OMG DID WE DO EVERYTHING RIGHT. It’s natural that we’re feeling a little, well, distrusting of goals and of paths and of what is real. On top of all of that, it’s getting dark basically after lunchtime these days.
But here’s why that’s great. In a time when everything feels unreal, we can hop on that trolley and travel to the land of make-believe even more easily. When you’re not feeling successful, when you’re full of doubt, when you’re losing your mind and it feels like nobody else is, we can remember the gospel of Fred Rogers and travel to our own neighborhood. Which is great, because we’re supposed to be staying in our own neighborhood any damn way.
Today, even though I’m wearing a sweatshirt that previously kept my work mannequin from being topless for two years, a sweatshirt that I finally took off of the mannequin when leaving my office for the last time, a sweatshirt whose removal, incidentally, knocked the mannequin’s leg off and made me make a noise that was a little like a broken squeezebox as the reality of the whole weird thing set in that my career in the movie industry was likely over for good, I’m excited.
Because here’s the thing: there has never been a better time to re-invent ourselves. Think about it. Every single other year, if I had lost a job thrice and decided I wanted to start my own writing business and my fitness coaching business AT THE SAME TIME, my family would have gently had an intervention. Or violently had an intervention. Because it would have seemed like I was cracked. But this year, we’re all adjusting. We’re all finding new ways to do things, out of necessity. So we’re all in this really cool, really great time together, when imagination is not only allowed but encouraged, when new ideas aren’t automatically shot down but celebrated.
We’re living in a time when we DO have time, when it’s okay to run with that rad screenplay like my friend Robert has done, to work on that industry how-to book like my friend Laura has done, and to launch your own business like so many of us have done.
I’ve found passions I didn’t know existed, started my Beachbody coaching business with the most positive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, learned a little about plumbing, more about painting, ways to take a 1600-square-foot house and make it a workable space with twin boys and two home offices, and learned to practice mindfulness (thanks, Noom and ReWi apps!).
So, while I still don’t have socks on, while I still don’t have a matching outfit, and while my roots are still a color no crayon box will touch, I’m going to keep pretending, in my Land of Make Believe, that I’m a serious businesswoman who don’t BROOK no shit.
Beep beep, suckas.