Monday, September 16, 2013

"Yes and..." I'm Going Back to Cali

World Hold On by Bob Sinclair on Grooveshark
Admit it, you're surprised to see me.  That's all I have to say about my absence's been a great 6 months in New York City.


One new rule of life that I have tried to apply in my life since the beginning of my walkabout is, say "Yes and..." to whatever life presents to you.  This one philosophy has changed my life the most in the past year.  

The problem:  as a lawyer, I was trained to always find the risk in anything; a huge part of my job as an attorney is risk mitigation.  So lawyers always determine what could go wrong in something, and that mindset bleeds over into their personal lives...attorneys worry a lot!!  Don't blame them, that's what they're paid to do, but in my personal life, I found that mindset translated into naturally finding reasons not to do things.  And that's a truly limiting way to live life.

Discovery of new rule:  Tina Fey, in her side-splittingly funny book Bossypants, (I guarantee continuous deep-belly laughs even if you don't normally find Tina Fey funny on television), talks about rules of successful improv comedy that she has applied to life.  One of them is always saying "yes and..." to whatever is thrown your way.  Don't look for reasons why it might not work, why it's too hard, why it doesn't make sense...go with your gut, appreciate the opportunity for what it is, and say YES.  The "and..." part of the equation means not only do you say yes, but you add your contribution to it as well to make the proposition even grander.

For example, if someone invites you to Ibiza, you say YES, AND I will make reservations at Ushuaia for us to go see Swedish House Mafia while we are there!!! <-- true story.  My first awesome experience with Yes And.  The old me might have said, weeelll, I don't really know the people on this trip, weelll, I didn't pack the right clothes for Ibiza in the summer, weelll, I already paid a lot for my place in Paris, etc. etc.  NO.  Stop it. Stop fighting all the good things the universe sends your way...if you want your life to be better than what it is, you have to be open to change.  That's scary, but the alternative is living a life of STASIS. And who wants that?
*Note:  This does not mean saying yes to bad stuff, like toxic people or doing harmful things to yourself and others.  But we knew this already, no?

The current situation:  Out of nowhere, completely unexpectedly, I made a connection with a great team in Los Angeles.  I had no plans to move out there, to be involved with anything in Southern California.  In fact, I had no plans to even stay in law.  Edit:  I am, however, never, EVER going back to BigLaw or in-house at a similarly highly hierarchical, bureaucratic and politicized environment.  That stopped being fun a long time ago if it ever was.  

This small, L.A. group made me an offer to which at first, I thought of a million reasons to say NO.  And for every concern I had, they quickly and graciously resolved all of them.  For the first time in a while in terms of anything career related, I felt a quickening in my stomach, a growing sense of excitement.  But I still had my doubts.    

Then I thought about my rule of saying Yes.  I realized that all of the reasons why I was saying NO was based on fear/worry:  what if...this didn't work out?  what turns out that me and this team do not mesh?  what if...I don't like the work?  What if? What if?  Here's what I've learned in my long life:  90% of all the unwise decisions we make in life are rooted in fear of the unknown.  And such decisions keep us from moving onward and forward in life.  Life is about forward volition, but only saying YES will take us there.  "If you want something you've never had, you have to try something you've never done."  Right?  Wasn't this where I started from over a year ago??  I resolved at that time to never again make a decision based on fear, guilt or pity.   I had made too many bad choices in my life based on these emotions...which resulted in a loss of opportunities and a life where I simply deserved better. 

I had to prove to the Universe that indeed I am trying to do my part in learning my lessons in life and so I called the team back and said: YES, AND YOU BETTER BE READY FOR ME, THIS IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF FUN.  

So off to California I go and pretty soon at that.  Am I surprised at this after I thought I was settling down in NYC?  I'm not surprised at changes like that any more in my life.  I'm learning to go with the flow and to trust that when I say Yes, I allow the Universe to bring good things in my life.  


Today was an uncharacteristically gorgeous day in NYC. It's September, one of the best months to be here, the days are crisp and cool.  The crazy summer tourist season is over, Fashion Week is done, and the city is beautiful.  

I will miss Central Park the most.  840 acres of nature in the financial capital of the country complete with a zoo, a wildlife sanctuary, a castle, several lakes, ponds, a billion-gallon reservoir and 100s of years old trees everywhere (we don't have trees like that in Southern California).  

I love New York City, it's been so good to me and a heck of a lot of fun.  But I'm saying YES to Cali and I hope you, too, say yes love, life, happiness and whatever opportunities life throws your way.  Don't be ruled by your fears! 

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