Just Because the Outside is Green doesn’t Mean the Inside Isn’t Ripe (Or, Those Deceptive Bananas)

Do you ever feel like you’ve made a ton of progress in an area, and then time goes by and maybe some tragic moments occur in your life and you forget all that progress ever occurred? You can’t remember what it felt like to feel accomplished in that area. You feel like you must have completely backtracked. No matter how hard you try, you’re not sure you can get back to the place where you once were. Everything feels ungraspable and transient.

I was handling some green bananas on my windowsill this morning, and was struck by  progression happening even when it can’t be seen or felt. Let me clarify. The bananas had been sitting on the windowsill for a few days, and I had bought them very green to begin with. Yet their color hadn’t changed- it was still the same off-putting green I had seen originally in the grocery store. I don’t know what was defective about the bananas’ coloring, if anything, but when I picked one up, it was soft. And when I peeled and ate a green banana this morning it was perfectly ripe and sweet on the inside.

I’ve been at a bit of a spiritual loss lately. There was a death in my family, and I recently went through a break up, and there’s been a lot of holiday rushing around. I’ve just felt confused and a bit off-center. I’ve meditated almost every day, but I still don’t feel back to center for whatever reason. I’ve tried to accept the uncertain and off-center feelings rushing through me, and let them run their course, and that is as always a difficult thing to do. I like to feel happy all the time, as you do, certainly. But I know that it’s normal for other feelings to come into play, and I try not to block them or push them down. Still…it’s hard not to ask questions like: ‘am I spiritually going backwards?’ ‘Am I losing all of the progress I’ve made?’ ‘Will I ever feel centered again?’ ‘Will I ever feel grounded again?’

I look at the perfectly ripe green banana in front of me and observe that progress occurs naturally underneath an exterior that can seem stuck in a rut. Sometimes you just have to trust that somewhere deep inside, things are working themselves out.



It’s Never Too Late to Be A Success

I’ve talked about this before, but being in graduate school and being constantly surrounded by hungry, eager 18-21 year olds has a funny way of making you feel inadequate if you’re a 30-something. Sometimes I’ll be sitting having lunch, surrounded by undergraduates, and I’ll feel so far from anything like success. This kind of thinking leads me into a tailspin where I start doubting my career choice, and wondering if it’s time to pursue something else. However, I recently realized that I spend a whole lot of time thinking about a dilemma” and not actually doing anything about it. Being a cerebral person, I often assume I can think my way to an answer. But as we learn in screenwriting 101, thinking is not an action. We would never pay money to watch a person ‘thinking’ on screen.

So I’ve been trying to implement not thinking so much about my career, and just trying to get moving. Have you heard the expression, “You can’t steer a parked car”? Well, there’s a lot of truth to that. If you feel lost, discouraged, or behind in your life or career, just take one single action in the direction you may want to go. And you’re bound to make some mistakes, but that’s part of the process.

And, never, ever believe it’s too late…There are so many people who achieved great success later in life. Here are some famous examples.

  • Rodney Dangerfield didn’t succeed in comedy until his 40s. Before that, he sold aluminum siding!
  • Ray Kroc was a milkshake salesman into his 50s until he founded McDonald’s at 52.
  • Raymond Chandler, wrote his first novel at 52!
  • Tim Zagat quit his job as a lawyer in order to create his namesake book of restaurant reviews when he was 51.
  • Toni Morrison didn’t start writing until her mid-30s and her first novel was published when she was 39.

So, don’t ever let the notion of time get you down. Just shift your car out of parked and start driving.

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