Taking the PCH of Life

No, PCH is not a drug. It’s short for Pacific Coast Highway. 

So, as many of you know, I’ve been doing a series on transitioning from college life into the big scary world of real-ness.  As I write this, I am sitting in quad-like area between the Beverly Montage Hotel and the building where I intern part-time. I am surrounded by a vibrant buzz of voices–to my right sits a Jewish family from France, to my left, an Italian couple, behind me, a lesbian couple and their daughter. Still more people surround us in this green plaza. LA is full of people. And cars.  There’s so much traffic I can hardly find anything else to talk about. 

But really, a description of Los Angeles is not what I sat down here to write. What I want to tell you is this:

Everything is going to be okay.  

Honestly, it is. It’s not easy, but it will be okay.  The key is to keep your head about the water when you feel like life is rushing in at you.  There will be times you are miserable, there will be times when you are so anxious you can’t seem to sleep. And, there will be times when you are just so terrified of being where you are that you can’t stop the waterworks. For hours, maybe days. But, it will all be okay.  

In the weeks, days, and hours leading up to my move here, and my father’s departure back to Kansas, I was so filled with anxiety that I barely had an appetite. I kept a smile on my face as much as I could by pushing off the knowledge that I was moving over a thousand miles away from home and that if I got homesick, it would take a little bit more than a two hour drive to visit home. It also didn’t help that in the few weeks I had between Texas and California, I developed a sudden nostalgia for the open plains of Kansas and the quiet safety and comfortability of my parents’ home.  

But, I came. And my dad left. And I cried so much he left me one of his hankies, because I ran out of tissues. I cried so much I couldn’t stop the tears when I tried to visit with the woman I was living with. The woman who I had only known in person for a few days’ time.  Lucky for me, she was kind and understanding, and I didn’t worry so much about weirding her out. And then, you know what happened?  The tears stopped. I went to my internship. I thought it was weird that I was interning instead of getting paid for work, and the first time they sent me out for coffee, I could feel my Bachelor’s degree crying a little bit, deep in my chest. But I also thought it was awesome. Both places were I intern are filled with posters from the movies that the company, or the company’s many executives, have helped produce. Movies like Ghostbusters and Disturbia, Caddyshack, Hook, and even Black Swan.

Still, I was feeling pretty useless, and going through bouts of worry that I was wasting valuable time–time that I could be working, getting experience doing a real, grown-up job, getting paid, being able to afford my own place, and the ability to start investing for my retirement and large future purchases, like a home. Or a new Macbook, obvi.

But then something great happened last Thursday–I got to sit down with one of the assistants at one of the places where I work, and go over my coverage with him. Now I was terrified of critiques; I just KNEW my inexperience in the film industry and my smallish knowledge of films was going to show through. I had also been feeling depressed because some of our assistants recently had birthdays–28ths and 29ths–and I was thinking, “If I’m still just an assistant by the time I’m that old, then what am I doing in this industry? I don’t want that–I want to be steadily on my way towards a successful career by the time I’m thirty. I want to feel like I’m working in my career by the time I’m thirty!” But he sat me down, and I could hear my heart beating in my chest. He said, “Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. If I could give grades for coverages, this would be an A+.” And I about fainted with such a blood rush to my head! I was so happy I laughed–not like a cool laugh, but one of those dorky giggles mixed with a weird cackle type thing. You know, typical awkward me. Then he did something even more amazing: he talked to me about the company, what projects they were doing, where the company was going, and what sorts of projects the company was potentially interested in. In our discussion, I realized that, even though his title had ‘assistant’ tucked into it, this dude, as well as the other assistants in the company, were really vital parts of the company, and had a serious hand in the development aspects of the company’s work. Maybe it’s not so bad to be almost thirty and still working as an assistant.  

He also walked me through some ideas for employment ideas after the internship–where to look, how my internship experience and the company could help me land interviews that will set me on the right track to becoming a writer’s assistant and eventually–if all goes well–a writer myself.  It filled me with a new hope that all was not for nothing after all.  

And I want you to know that, too.  No matter what you’re doing right now–whether you have employment, are still in school, or still wandering in that in-between stage–know that it isn’t for nothing.  You are gaining something valuable, be that experience or education, and as long as you continue to strive and to reach for the opportunities you want, it’ll all be okay. Your life path will not always be clear or straight, but it will always be okay.  

As a parting sentiment until my next post, I want to leave you with a speech Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe from FRIENDS!) gave that really resonated with me: 

Lisa Kudrow Commencement Address 2010

Until Next Thursday,

Yours truly,



P.S. Was this helpful? Do you have specific questions you’d like me to answer in my next post? Let me know in the comments!

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