Gretchen Rubin's blog first introduced me to the idea that I could choose/identify my own patron saints. These people don't have to be actual saints (they probably aren't), but they do somehow speak to or inspire you in a personal and meaningful way. It's kind of like "who are your influences?" but much better. Gretchen's blog about it is here and mine is here.
A couple of weeks ago, I turned on the radio to listen while I washed some dishes and I caught the middle of Jessie Thorn's interview with Rick Moranis. As someone who spent what must amount to days - if not weeks - of my youth watching Spaceballs and Ghostbusters (and Ghostbusters 2) over and over and over (and over and over . . .), I've long been a big fan. Still, I hadn't realized that he'd actively taken himself out of "the business" in order to raise his kids after his wife died. In the interview, (this part's around 20 minutes in) he says "Stuff happens to people every day and they make adjustments in their lives for all kinds of reasons. There was nothing unusual about what happened or what I did . . ." Later, when Jessie Thorn asks about his giving up being a creative person when he gave up his show biz career, his response is perfect: "I was the same person. I didn't change. I just shifted my focus."
Listening to him talk about the choices he made and living his life, writ large, as a Creative Person felt like talking to a mentor. I worried so much when I got pregnant about what it would mean for my career - that any let-up in the pressure I was applying to my career in a constant attempt to move it forward spelled doom. And as major life events have continued to unfold even after (and independent of) the birth of my son, I've continued to worry in a similar way about what my inability to give 100% effort to my career 100% of the time will mean. Of course I don't know what it will mean and of course no one can know. But it sounds like Rick Moranis wasn't afraid to do what he had to do - and what he wanted to do - and didn't apologize for making choices in line with his values. I think he's a fine example and an excellent reminder for the rest of us not to let that death-grip-of-fear - "what will happen if I change or deviate?!" - dictate our behavior.
How about you? Have you ever been spontaneously mentored? What was your experience and how did it help you?