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You’ll Always Have This Day, No Matter Where It Leads

Walking

“If you surrender completely to the moment as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Last week on Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend Ehren and I had a meeting we’d both spent months working toward.

After writing and rewriting a romantic comedy screenplay for over a year, and consulting with a screenwriter friend to improve it, we’d finally secured a meeting with an agent—her agent. At one of the largest agencies in Hollywood. Presumably to represent us.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled to know our project might have a real future, and the timing of it, on Valentine’s Day, seemed serendipitous and made it even more exciting.

The opportunity felt even more gratifying because we’d both been in need of some good news since Ehren’s brother’s sudden passing in December.

We’d just moved out of our Los Angeles apartment with plans to spend time with his parents in the Bay Area and work on various creative projects together. Yet there were, mere days after our move, heading back to the home we’d just left.

Though we’d lived in LA for over two years, the city looked different through the lens of magnified possibility.

We spent the whole drive discussing our next screenplay and planning what we’d say in the meeting. I spent each moment of silence fantasizing about casting, filming, and premieres—a whole new life on the other side of this day.

We ate at a classic Hollywood deli and ran into one of my favorite comedic actresses. One day we’d write a role for her, I thought.

We then walked around the neighborhood for a good thirty minutes before arriving early but not too early for what seemed like the most important meeting of our creative partnership.

I jittered and rambled while sitting in the waiting room. I wanted to be sure that when we walked in, I said enough but not too much, and generally put my best foot forward for the best possible outcome.

So much had led to this one moment, and I felt that our whole future was wrapped up in it.

I nearly tripped on my too-high heels as the agent’s assistant led us to his office—right before he greeted us by saying, “It’s nice to put faces to the names. I know it’s tough to be new in the business, so I’m happy to offer any advice I can.”

Forty-five minutes later, we shook his hand and left his office. He’d been friendly, gracious, and generous with his time, but we left without having discussed our screenplay, beyond him mentioning that romantic comedies aren’t selling right now.

This day, which had become the center of a fantasy, had come and gone without changing our world in any discernable way. And yet we weren’t nearly as disappointed as we thought we’d be.

This day could have created a whole new trajectory for our lives, and yet even without it leading where we’d hoped it would, we still felt excited about it.

That night as we ate a five-course Valentine’s meal downstairs from our hotel room, equally overloaded with calories and uncertainty, I thought about the start of our relationship.

On our first date in 2009, Ehren had recounted his varied experiences with traveling and adventure activities.

Feeling inspired and a tad envious, and wanting to impress him, I mentioned that I’d always dreamed of skydiving and that I’d love to do it someday—someday being the operative word.

Sure, I meant it, but I wasn’t yet fully invested in doing it, especially considering my near-paralyzing fear of heights.

Still, he jumped on this and suggested, “Let’s go on our second date.”

I silently panicked, wondering how I could get out of this after so passionately expressing my lifelong desire to hurl my body from a tiny aircraft.

Perhaps it was because he recognized my inner conflict and knew the desire was stronger than the fear that he then said, “If you want to see me again, you have to jump from a plane.”

I highly doubt he really meant that, but looking back, I realize my willingness to accept this challenge contributed to his falling for me.

And what he said on the long second-date drive contributed to my falling for him.

I commented that he’d invested a lot in the date, in terms of time, effort, and money. Skydiving isn’t cheap, and it also wasn’t close geographically. On top of that, he’d arranged to cook dinner for his grandmother and me at her nearby house.

Sure, he may have had a good feeling about me from that first date, but no doubt about it, this was a risk. We could have realized in talking on the drive that we simply weren’t compatible. He could have gotten halfway through the date and realized there wouldn’t be a third one.

I couldn’t help but ask him if that had crossed his mind.

To that, he said, “Well, no matter what, I’ll always be the guy that brought you skydiving.”

This blew me away. It meant he hadn’t gone to all that effort solely because he’d attached to a certain outcome. He wasn’t focused on an endgame, or expecting anything specific in return.

He’d planned an exciting day with me knowing that no matter what, the day itself would be worth the effort. Regardless of what became of us, he wouldn’t regret the experience.

He’d be happy knowing we shared this day together, regardless of what we shared going forward.

Our meeting was a lot like that. It could have been the start of a whole new adventure. It could have been the foundation of a working relationship that completely transformed both of our careers.

It wasn’t either of those things, but it will always be our first meeting with a Hollywood agent. And the Valentine’s Day we spent a night at the Hilton together. And the day we remembered how grateful we are that friends take the time to help us.

So often in life we attach all of our hopes and dreams to specific moments in time, getting caught up in the possibility of everything changing or moving forward thereafter.

Maybe the key to happiness is knowing that the value of any moment isn’t always about where it leads. It’s about how we perceive it, live it, appreciate it, and then move forward on the journey, still excited about the path ahead, wherever it may take us.

Photo by tonyhall

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) & co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you get unstuck & change your life. She's now seeking stories to include in her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story! For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter & Facebook.

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  • Vijayalakshmi04

    This is so true!

  • Irving Podolsky

    Well Lori, the key to happiness… Yes I guess you’re right. Your attitude takes the pressure off. Me? I would have been disappointed, and I HAVE been disappointed those many times when my pitch sessions didn’t move an agent or producer to buy my scripts and ideas.

    If your screenwriter friend hasn’t told you already, here’s the cold truth. Agents and producers are not looking for new and talented writers. They are looking for a script they can sell. If yours happens to be what they’re looking for, you get swept inside along with your story.

    Studios put out the word as to what they they want and then agents and producers look for it. Hopefully it’s a spec script so no writer will have to be paid. No one wants to risk anything anymore. Funding is still very tight.

    However, once you’ve established your street cred, which means having written a script where everyone makes money, and if you do that again, then YOU determine what the studios want.

    If Judd Apatow wants to make another romantic comedy (and he will), the studios will roll the red carpet to get him on their lot.

    This agent you write about seems like a nice man. He gave you a courtesy visit. If he didn’t think your writing was professional, he wouldn’t have taken the time to see you. You probably have an open door for your next script should you write one. And I bet you will.

    But how will I know what’s IN? you ask. How will I know what’s hot to write about?

    You won’t, anymore than a broker can predict the stock market (Warren Buffett excluded).

    So write for YOU. Write from the HEART. And don’t give up. Eventually the right people will want your words. It happened to me.

    Irv

  • Dolcevita

    “He’d planned an exciting day with me knowing that no matter what, the day itself would be worth the effort.”
    Oh NOW I see what ‘living in the moment’ means. Thank you for your simply stated illustration :-) Love and light

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    WOW I love this Lori – no wonder you and your boyfriend are still together – you are obviously so alike in your appreciation of the NOW. And that attitude is what makes you celebrate your very first meeting with a Hollywood agent (WOW). Thanks again for the lesson.

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    Lori, your words, experiences surrounding that meeting and you and Ehron’s observations and perspectives hit so close to home…for different reasons. I understand, and agree with the point about not being attached to outcomes. After all, the mere opportunity of being able to meet with the agent is something worth celebrating.

    Being attached to one outcome or another describes the short film that I wrote, directed and I’m now currently in post-production on. I let so many previous projects fall by the wayside that I’ve been attached to specific outcomes for every stage of production, and would feel like I’m missing a sense of direction (both on a personal lever and career wise) otherwise.

    The way Ehron approached that second date reminded me of a recent magazine feature, in which actress Dakota Fanning said she doesn’t date because it’s a waste of time to hang out with any guy that she doesn’t see herself marrying.

    Both perspectives (the skydiving and Fanning’s non-dating stance) are such polar opposites from each other, yet each helpful in their own way by illustrating how we can get the most out of life by enjoying the things that matter most to us and moving beyond fear to live each moment to the fullest.

  • padmini

    I know this spirit because my husband is a lot like this. When I joined my PhD (having a two year old) I was scared whether or not I would be able to do. He replied: it doesn’t matter, we still get to see a new country, a new place and a chance to try something new!

  • lv2terp

    Lori, another wonderful post with a beautiful and life altering message! Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights! The last sentence is well said, and hits home for me :-) I am grateful for you sharing this recent experience, and how you put it all into perspective, a truly wonderful example! Congrats, and I wish you so much fun, excitement, and joy on this new business journey!!! :-) :-)

  • Sumitha

    Are you sure that you fell for Ehren on the drive of your second date? If you were willing to jump off a plane just so you could see him again, I would think you’d already fallen for him on that first date :)

    More seriously, very nice post! I am in the process of getting out of a well paying job in the tech field to a (temporarily) non paying job of blogging. I have no writing background whatsoever, and while I used to stress a lot about whether I will ever “make it” as a blogger with such a severe handicap, I am beginning to realize that writing is likely a big part of why I chose to do this in the first place! Every time that I write something and it comes out the way I hoped it would, it fills me with such contentment. I know some of what I write will reach a large audience, and others will languish on my hard drive never to see the light of day, but it is the writing “process” where you take an idea that you can barely grasp and coax out something beautiful for the world to read and immediately understand, is what makes it all worth it!

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    hey Lori – I think you’ve just covered the entire theme of the Bhagavad Gita, the spiritual Hindu text with your one post!

    I found it to mean that you’re encouraging us to live for the day, in the moment, regardless of the outcome! Regardless of what happens. Regardless of result.

    Which allows us to detach from what happens and actually enjoy the moment and do our duty (as the Gita would say) And appreciating the act or action regardless of outcome!

    this is not the easiest way to live because we always have expectations and results but if we enjoy the moment, we really can’t lose no matter what happens.

  • razwana

    Living in the moment and not living for where it may lead, is a constant, conscious thing, and usually the wisdom hits me when i HAVE been fixed on an outcome, rather than the experience.

    From your post, Lori, what I take away is the wisdom of letting what will be just be, and therein lies contentment.

  • Vicky

    What a beautiful post! :) x

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much! We share a lot of philosophies on life, and he’s always inspired me with his ability to live in the moment with a sense of spontaneity and wonder. Incidentally, he wrote a post about his travels a couple years back: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-lessons-from-traveling-that-lead-to-everyday-happiness/

    I love the part about “moments of awe.” We had a few during our Valentine’s trip. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    So true–I’m the same! Sometimes I find myself getting caught up on “where things could go,” and that’s usually when I remind myself to look around and appreciate where they already are!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for this insight and advice Irv. My boyfriend was nodding his head as he read this. He has a lot more knowledge about the industry than I do. We both felt really fortunate to even have that meeting, considering the agent didn’t want to represent us.

    I’ve asked my boyfriend if he’d be interested in writing/producing short inspirational films. Though it was fun to write this comedy, I’d certainly be more in my element writing inspiring shorts, and we could actually direct/produce these on our own.

    As long as I/we can create and feel good about that, I think we’re on the right track!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Exactly! And I know what you mean–it’s not always easy.

    After I wrote this, I realized it’s a lot easier for me to detach from outcomes these days, now that my basic needs are met. There was a time when I was struggling in every way possible, including financially. When I didn’t know if I could pay the rent on my weekly room rental or buy food.

    When I attached to outcomes then, it felt like my survival depended on it. But that’s also when I started yoga and started learning about being in the moment–so I guess it was actually a great time to start learning about mindfulness.

    If you can enjoy the moment when there’s a lot you could be worrying about, you know you have a practice that can sustain you through life’s highs and lows!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Good question! I think I liked him on the first date, but I really fell for him on the second. It was the car ride that did it. I didn’t know if it would be awkward, filling that much time with conversation, since we’d just met. But it was really effortless. We talked about anything and everything, and really dug beneath the surface of life’s big questions. I love that. I only get so far with small talk!

    Congrats on your new adventure in blogging. I know what you mean, about the satisfaction of expressing your thoughts well. I think it’s loving that process that keeps us coming back, and it’s that consistency that builds a blog. It sounds like you have a wonderful start. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    What a great attitude! It’s so true. What an amazing adventure for you both, living in a new country.

    Incidentally, I find that when I think this way, appreciating an experience regardless of the outcome, it actually lends to a sense of ease and confidence, which ultimately increases my odds of succeeding. So by letting go of the outcome, I’m much better equipped to create a positive one!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Your short film sounds fascinating. I’d love to see it when it’s done!

    That’s interesting, what Dakota Fanning said. She’s always struck me as an amazingly wise younger person–someone with a great head on her shoulders. Looking back, I could have done without a lot of the dating I did, but I also learned so much from it. I guess, like you wrote, it all comes down to knowing and honoring what matters most to us.

  • Heather

    Good luck with future meetings about your screenplay, Lori! I think the fact that you got a meeting is a good start, and I’m glad you guys enjoyed the day so much, you deserve it!