“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”
It’s probably not too much of a stretch to say that most people have seen at least one episode of the tv classic I Love Lucy. If you’re like me, you’ve seen every one, some to the point where you can actually recite the dialogue right along with the characters (Vitameatavegamin, anyone?) and picture Lucy in her signature outfits, complete with pearls. I even did a final paper on the show for my Cultural Identity honors course in college, and I can honestly say it was one of my favorite things to work on for any of my classes. Getting to explore this cultural phenomenon of a show, to delve into the ideals it perpetuates and the idealism it projects, was beyond interesting and captivating for me. It’s a part of Americana – that American Dream that so many speak and write about, the idea of dreaming big and working hard to make those dreams come true. Family, friendship, love, careers, hope, goals, diligence, determination: I Love Lucy had it all, right along with a perfect sense of comedy that makes it just as enjoyable to watch today as it was fifty years ago. It symbolizes joy. How can we not love that?
Lucille Ball has been, I’m sure, an inspiration to so many. After all, how can her story of triumphs and successes not motivate us all to get out there and make our goals into our realities? In ways, Lucille is every bit as much the personification of the American Dream as the character she brought into millions upon millions of people’s lives. I’ve been a fan of hers for more years than I can remember – and I have the books, DVDs, and even the I Love Lucy trivia game to prove it – but I didn’t come across this quote of hers until yesterday. It’s one that immediately resonated with me, and I knew I just had to use it for a blog entry. Lucille had dreams. She had big dreams. But she didn’t stop there. She took a chance, she put her heart on the line, and she set about making those dreams come true.
Would it have been easier not to? Absolutely. I’d imagine there are few tougher towns to crack than Hollywood. But would she have regretted not trying? Of course I can’t speak for her, but the above quote tells me that she would. And you know what? She’s right. She’s so right. Sure, it’s easier to not take that first step down what may be a long road to reaching for the stars and accomplishing your goals. It’s easier to go along with what is instead of pushing forward and striving for what could be. That’s something Emily, my main character, knows about all too well. The safe route has been her route for so long that she can’t remember a time when it wasn’t. But when she takes the road less traveled, she realizes there’s a whole other side to life that she had been missing out on. And really, don’t we all owe it to ourselves to do the same thing?
Yes, that leap of faith can be hard to take. The uncertainty can be intimidating. But what this journey toward publication continues to teach me every day is that it’s all worth it. No matter what the outcome, I’ve learned things about myself as a writer and a person that I otherwise may not have. I am wholly, completely, entirely certain that had I not pursued this, I always would have regretted it. I’d always have wondered “what if?” and that’s something I don’t want to do, not with a passion that’s grabbed a hold of me as tightly as this one has. I’d rather regret going after this whole-heartedly than not going after it at all.
Except, honestly? I could never regret it. I don’t know where this road will lead, but what I do know is that it’s already been the ride of a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So, no matter what, no regrets … just a lot of hope, faith, hard work, and big dreams. Because with all of those and the support of people as special to me as Ricky, Ethel, and Fred were to Lucy, how can I go wrong?
Do you believe in Lucille’s philosophy? Have you ever done or not done something you regret? And as a sidenote – what’s your favorite I Love Lucy episode? Mine will always be the one where they’re on the road to California and get tricked into spending the night at a small motel by the train tracks. That image of Lucy clinging to Ricky as their bed jumps across the room gets to me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Seriously, talk about laughing out loud! That’s what Lucy – and Lucille – did for us, though, and I know that I, for one, will always be grateful she decided to push ahead with no regrets. I’m quickly finding out that it’s the best way to live.