By Clare Almand
31 May

You Are Not a Tree

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I have always struggled with motivation. Unfortunately, reading inspirational quotes on Pinterest doesn’t help me complete that screenplay—it’s just three hours down the drain. Luckily, the upcoming ends of two eras have inspired me enough to really get things going.

Last December, I turned 29—a wonderful accomplishment for someone who’s had their chest cracked open four times. I don’t want to diminish what I’ve accomplished so far, because making the move from Virginia to New York and from New York to Los Angeles is no small feat, but as far as becoming a working screenwriter, I haven’t made a lot of headway. This being my last year as a 20-something really got me thinking: I want to accomplish things this year. I want to create things. I want to make things happen. So I did. I found an awesome group of very talented people to actually agree to film some scenes I wrote. It took some time, as most passion projects do. We started the process last fall and we just launched our web series a couple weeks ago. But it happened!

This is also my last year with my current ICD. It’s been six years since I’ve had surgery, which is the longest amount of time I’ve gone surgery-free since I was 20. By the time I have my next surgery (my eleventh overall), I want to make sure that I can say that I’ve done everything possible to reach my goals. Specifically, that I’ve had coffee with every professional contact, I’ve applied to every screenwriting fellowship, I’ve submitted to every major screenwriting competition, and that I’ve written all the scenes, pilots, and screenplays that I’ve had floating around in my head for the past few years. And if I don’t get accepted to any fellowships or become a finalist in any competition, at least I tried. At least I made an effort and got something written and maybe next year I’ll try again and my writing will be better. Because if something were to happen—and with a heart like mine, it sometimes does—I don’t want to have any regrets.

And I’m not just talking about career. I don’t want to have any other regrets either. When I first moved to LA two years ago, my first two jobs were working on travel shows and I spent the next six months working outside the continental U.S. While I’m grateful for the experiences I had, those jobs meant that I missed three weddings and the birth of my niece. I now have a steadier local job where I have a regular schedule and can take a little time off. That’s why I said, “screw it,” and bought a ticket to see Hamilton on Broadway. Life is too short! I’m traveling back east at least four times this year, when in the past it’s only been two or three, because there are a lot of events that I don’t want to miss.

Here is one of my favorite inspirational quotes that I pinned while I was supposed to be writing: “If you don’t like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.” So if there’s something you want to do or someplace you want to be, go do it. Right now. I mean, be safe—take your medicine, see your doctor when you’re supposed to, test your INR—but also take that trip that you’ve been putting off and try that new hobby and take that class you’ve been eyeing. What are you waiting for?

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