Making a Different Life

Time used to fly by. Looking back, it appeared pretty incredible in carefully curated Instagram shots. I’m smiling, surrounded by friends, but it was all a blur. That was me, on a TV set in the middle of Times Square, working hard, making jokes.

The show lasted a few years. I still can’t believe it. It wasn’t crazy popular, but it successful enough as a five-days -a-week live pop culture show on VH1. It paid me well and had a crew that was really funny. It even had a few fans. (Shout out to Frank in New Jersey.) I learned how television works; I spent my nights prepping to be on camera, memorizing my lines, picking out outfits and going to the gym to fit into my brightly colored, uh, ugly TV clothes. (This is not an insult to anyone, we did our own shopping.)

I laughed every day and got a high when a joke of mine landed. As time went on though, most of it became repetitive, then completely meaningless. My days were filled, morning until night, with stories about celebrities and I was busy busy busy. But with what? 

Those days, I’d wake up at 5:30 AM to shower and take the subway to the show where I would get my hair and makeup done. I was grateful for that. I woke up looking like Charlize Theron in “Monster” and went on TV looking like Charlize Theron without your glasses on. (It’s an improvement.)

There is only so much energy we have in one day and I had another full time job — I was running the gossip column at the New York Daily News. An embarrassment of riches, I know, but an energy and soul-sucking one. The two jobs together were making me exhausted and crazy. If there was a line between grateful for a job and something’s gotta give, I couldn’t find it. I was crying each night, tired and depressed.

My life looked full with parties, connections, good income. But real life was happening — I got married, my mom died and I was having zero luck having a baby. I started thinking deeply about what I wanted from my life. TV, gossip and working until I dropped were not it. It was empty and I was hollow. I needed to change.

I wanted life to be simple. I wanted meaning, fulfilling activities and thoughts. I didn’t want to gossip about people and I wanted to be closer to my family. I wanted to spend my nights after work with my favorite person — the one I married. I wanted to buy fresh flowers, light candles, take walks and read. That’s all I wanted.

A calm life — almost boring — seemed very appealing to me.

Change and good luck sometimes come disguised as something else. I learned my show was canceled when I was at an appointment with my fertility doctor. I took it as a sign that I now had time to start a family. 

I quit the job where I wrote things I no longer wanted to write. I realized I needed to take my talents elsewhere for my own sanity. (But I do still want to know who gets a facelift. And where the hell Christie Brinkley gets her Botox shots? Anyone?)

I took two months off and found a job I really enjoy, with bosses I like, writing about relationships. I work mostly from home, which is life-changing

I now only buy what I’ll wear repeatedly, like a good pair of jeans and shoes that won’t destroy my feet.

I don’t kill myself at the gym anymore. I’d rather go for a meditative walk every afternoon. A few miles clears my head, gets my blood flowing and brings me peace.

Usually while I’m out walking, I’ll call my husband, to tell him how the weather is and ask what he wants to do later. It’s always the same. We watch the sun set, then we watch TV. I go to bed early, wake up, work from my couch and enjoy how simple my life is now—and how lucky I am.