Success according to “Timothy Green”
by Debi Pomerantz
I saw “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” last week. It was a sweet enough movie, my kids liked it, I didn’t fall asleep.
We walked out of there, and I turned to my kids and asked “What was that movie about”? I did this both because I wanted to know what they thought and also because, quite frankly, I wasn’t really certain myself (in my defense, I was REALLY tired that day…..).
My six year old assured me kids didn’t really come from the ground. My eight year old said everyone should be able to have a kid if they really want one. But my very wise husband said “what you want doesn’t always come in the package you expected, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t get what you wanted.” Hmmm…..
When I was 24, I set out for Los Angeles to be a TV writer. I got an agent and a “day job” in the same week. The agent was the first of three I would be with and my day job turned into a very successful career. My life took a path I could never have expected or thought that I wanted. And certainly, I have regrets that I am not the most sought after writer in Hollywood. However, when I think of the things I really wanted in my twenties, what it all truly comes down to is being able to re-define what I thought success would look like. Not as easy as it sounds…..
In my relationship, I am married to someone I never would have chosen for myself in my twenties. But life is about timing, and we met when we were older and had both experienced heartbreak and our expectations were different – and so it somehow worked. And together, we were easily able to have four amazing kids, whom I might have had with someone else, but they wouldn’t be THESE kids, these glorious creatures I can’t imagine living without. And so that piece of my life that is about marriage and children is certainly successful, though I might have envisioned things differently once upon a time. Whatever we have, we are both in it for life, and we both know this, which makes us work through ALL the crap, no matter how difficult. And while in some alternate universe I might have married “the man of my dreams”, he might only have been fully committed during the good times. Who knows? And my husband, the lovely man I DID marry? He thinks I walk on water…..
In my professional life, the road to acceptance has been a bit more difficult, and full disclosure, I am not completely there. No one wants to give up the dream. I still peddle my scripts and my ideas, but the “day job” I took 19 ½ years ago has settled into a very successful career. A friend once told me I was “accidentally successful”. He was right on. The corporate ladder I am in the middle of climbing was put in front of me and suddenly I found myself heading a department. And I know that road leads to more of the same. It isn’t a horrible place to be. On the days I can let go of the idea that I am “not doing what I was destined to do” or that I am not as passionate about my work as I am about my writing, I can also admit that I enjoy my job (most of the time). I like the people I work with and the work I do, and while I am not curing cancer, the work I do has meaning in the television world.
Objectively, I AM SUCCESSFUL. There. I said it.
I have a husband who loves me, four kids and a really good job that I enjoy. It feels ungrateful to expect anything more (not saying I don’t, just saying it feels ungrateful…..).
Success certainly doesn’t look like what I pictured. And the picture continues to change every day – and I hope it keeps changing.
In the meantime, my husband was right as usual.
What I wanted didn’t come in the package I expected, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I wanted…..Tags: Film and TV business, Marriage, Odd Life of Timothy Green, Parenthood, Success, Writer