My vintage drum set sat, mostly neglected, for the better part of ten years. It had been an untimely purchase, when I moved up to the Bay Area at the start of my first year at U.C. Berkeley. Had I asked, any Berkeley alum would have told me that unless I planned to use it as a multi-tiered desk for all the work to come, that drum set would hold no use for me within weeks. That the set would merely serve as a sweet memory of the time my new friend Francisco took me to Sam Adato’s drum shop and gave me two timbale drum sticks tied with clipped dread locks to celebrate my purchase.
When it came time to sell everything to travel, my drums were emotionally easy to let go of in the first round of purging. I put an ad on Craigslist and within a few hours, I had two responses from the same person “Hi, can I come pick-up your cool drum set?” and the second, “P.S. I can come over at your convenience with cash and no B.S.” I called the number listed immediately but with suspicion. I didn’t expect it to be so fast and easy. I thought I’d be lucky to get any response and if I did, that I’d never get the price I wanted, especially considering the wealth of drum sets available on Craigslist. In fact, I believe I said something like, “I’m never going to get that price. I’ll be lucky not to have to donate them.”
So when “Don” answered the phone and offered me an extra $40 to deliver the set a ten-minute drive away, I had to ask. “I’m sorry, but this seems too good to be true. Do you always keep hundreds of dollars lying around the house in case you want to buy something sight unseen?” He replied with a laugh, “No! I have to find a cool vintage kit today. Do you know the band Romeo Void? You know…” The voice in my head was in synch with his voice as he said “Never Say Never” and mine went on to add “A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing).” Was he kidding? My drum set was going to a band with these titles as hits from the 80’s?? Ha! “Never say Never” is right. Within a few hours of listing the set, my drums were property of great new owners.
I relayed this news to my friend Lia Rose, and half-jokingly told her that in honor, I would call my round the world trip the Never Say Never Tour, as a reminder that you never really know what life (or you) will throw your way. You can imagine my surprise when we went to see a movie soon after and the trailer for Justin Beiber’s documentary by the same name popped onto the screen. I never imagined that he and I would have so much in common.
A big lesson for me has been learning to put never in its place. Here are some ways I do:
Never let what could be an expired definition of yourself limit your future
If I held on to the definition of myself as a student who graduated 465th out of a high school class of 495, I would never have dared to go back to school and ultimately graduate with a 3.95 G.P.A. from U.C. Berkeley. This is true of countless things in my life, and I’m guessing yours as well. We don’t arrive at our fully formed adult selves- we are constantly growing and changing, even if we don’t give ourselves enough credit for it. Once upon a time I was too insecure to go the mall without a friend. Now I’m a solo world traveler.
Never doubt that life can out-perform your expectations
I never expected to be the recipient of free flight benefits when I hatched a plan to travel the world. And I had a very different plan to travel around the country in the months leading up to the time they become active. I had a loose plan to do 22 stops in 26 weeks. Life handed me a better plan- period. And I’m so grateful I was open to it.
Never let naysayers set the limits on your life
Anyone, who upon listening to your plans, says that they will not likely or will never work out as you’ve dreamed, should be seen, as having limited imagination- NOT privileged foresight. Simply say to yourself, or directly to them, “those are your limits, not mine.”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve proved the naysayers in my life wrong. I’ve watched them shake their heads when I moved to L.A. to become an actress, when I moved to New York City with $700 to my name, when I devised my plan to return to school. It’s come to the point where I can honestly say that I believe in myself more than I believe in them. If you’re not already there, I strongly urge you to work on that. YOUR life- the version you want to live- depends on it.
One of my favorite quotes is-
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
One year ago, my To Do List certainly did not include get a divorce, sell everything, move in to a 45 square foot house on wheels, sell my house, start a loosely planned North American road trip, make it as far as stop #3, fall in love with a place, fall in love with a person (more on that later), and restructure said loose plan…but I’m also much happier now than I was last year. Point being? Give more weight in your decision making to your instincts than what you said or thought you’d do…and never say never…you may find more happiness than you can imagine.
How do you give never the middle finger? How have you triumphed over self-doubt or expired versions of yourself? You know I love to learn from you! Tell me about it!