Sunday, November 22, 2009

That's When You Find Yourself

So I've seen the Disney Pixar Cars movie about 100 times.  I mean, not all the way through or anything!  I haven't actually sat in one place and watched Cars in its entirety more than twice.  Here is what usually happens: my son Alec wakes up at 5:45 a.m. and starts asking for Lightning McQueen.  That is when my husband will go and start up the Cars DVD for 20 more minutes in bed.  As our morning progresses, I hear bits and pieces of the film over breakfast, potty training, then washing and dressing everyone.  Once things have quieted down a bit the film ends and as the credits role, I hear the song "Find Yourself."  Here is the chorus:

When you go through life
So sure of where you're heading
And you wind up lost
And it's the best thing that could've happened
Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It's really just as well
Because you find yourself
Yeah, that's when you find yourself

You may find these lyrics to be any of the following: trite, sappy, schmaltzy, cheesy, pedantic, boring, or Oprah-esque. 

The first time I really listened, I liked those lyrics.  I said to myself, probably out loud, "that sounds like me." 

Anyone who has seen Cars will remember the little blue Porsche called Sally.  In case you can't remember, she is Lightning's girlfriend, OK?  Got it?  Anyway, Sally used to be an attorney working long hours in Los Angeles, California.  At one point, her engine started to give her problems and she decided to break out of the race.   She kept driving and driving until she hit a rundown little town in the desert called Radiator Springs.  When she broke down, Doc took Sally in and she decided to stay.  You'll have to watch the movie again to find out what happened after that. 

I used to be an attorney working in NYC, Paris and London.  I didn't really like those jobs.  I felt like I was in a race where I didn't belong.  A high school teacher once said this to me: "Michelle, I know you are smart but for some reason you don't try to compete.  You are like a souped-up race car parked on the side of the road and getting passed by old pick-up trucks."  Her name was Anne-Marie Correggia.  I will never forget smoking Gitanes with her in my attic after a French class party.  When I went to college, I decided it was time to compete.  I studied a little bit and graduated magna cum laude, winning a scholarship to graduate school in Paris.  Then I decided that I needed to go to a top 5 law school.  Once I got into law school, I studied a fair amount but I wanted to stop competing.  I didn't try to write onto a journal.  I enjoyed life for a while and spent another semester in Paris.  I got a C in Constitutional Law because I skipped the class regularly and spent as little time as possible on my take-home final.  I still got a job at a "magic circle" firm in London the semester before graduation.  Life seemed pretty good.  It seemed good because I was running from place to place and taking in the sights.  Running around felt good. 

Eventually, five years of faking it in the law firm world caught up to me and sure enough, my engine started to backfire.  I quit my job.  I developed Bells Palsy.  I had a baby.  I moved to a little town called Dobbs Ferry and I'm still here.  I feel like Doc has taken me in and I don't want to move back to the race.  I did get my engine fixed.  We've got good mechanics up here on the river. 

I'm not competitive.  I never was.  I don't care if I get passed by an old Chevy truck.  I am on my own road again, and that's better than racing. 

I'm not saying I don't love cars, or Cars.  I can be a racing fan, just like anyone else.  I enjoy going for a ride, and more than anything, I love the open road.  Now that I've found myself, there's no telling where I'll end up. 

Best of luck on your trip.  Don't fall! ;)


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