WHEN THE GIG IS UP...
Whether you’re an actor, a politician, a CEO, a television news anchor, a fireman, a teacher, a stand-up comic or an exotic dancer, there comes a time when the gig is up. Your contract expires, they bring in new “talent,” the play closes or you just decide enough is enough. It happens to just about all of us. Then the question is, “Now what? I mean, who am I if I’m no longer________?"
Take Peggy, for instance. She had more than a day in the sun. She was “contracted” by Bravo Television to do a gig with Andy Cohen. You know Andy, he’s the very delightful, funny, warm guy who is the host of “Watch What Happens Live!” Well, Peggy was chosen to be in the cast of an on-air segment, called “Turtle Time.” Bravo fell in love with her. She and Andy became best “friends.” And why not? She had everything: looks, personality, “attitude” ...and she was really, really easy to work with. So voila! Peggy became a star. She got to dress in all kinds of different costumes for all kinds of different shticks. There was even a “naming contest” where thousands of viewers tweeted their ideas for a sexy new name for her. The name that won the most votes was “Tramona.” Peggy didn’t mind. She was a star after all, and one has to go with the flow. But then one day, the inevitable happened. The gig was up. Bravo, the Housewives, the “twitterverse" - and Andy - moved on. They took back the costumes, turned out the lights and told Peggy to have a good life.
Here’s the thing: Peggy’s a turtle. No, she’s a tortoise, actually. And not just any tortoise, she’s an African Red-footed Tortoise. She’s special. I know. Our daughter, Abigail, who works in social media at Bravo, was the one who bought Peggy from the pet store (not cheap, either) and...the one who brought her home after the gig was up. Peggy lives with us now. (Not Tramona. Peggy.) Going from TV star back into anonymity was well, hard. At first Peggy spent a lot of time in her cage. If you came near her, she quickly tucked her head, feet and tail into her shell and stayed very still. She acted like a no one...not a someone. So we just fed her and didn’t pay much attention. But then one day, Willa, our Golden Retriever "discovered" her. She picked her up and raced through the dining room with Peggy in her mouth. Peggy had the ride of her life. She didn’t tuck in her head, or her feet, or her tail. She just looked around and enjoyed the view. Well, that was the turning point for Peggy. Ever since that wild ride, she’s “come out of her shell” more and more. She loves music and ambles happily around our greenhouse (where she lives) whenever we play her favorite song, “Come Fly With Me,” sung by Sinatra, of course. She’s become so sure of her new-found "self" that she’s become pals with Willa. They play a kind of hide ’n seek game where Peggy hides and we say to Willa, “Go find Peggy!!” And tail wagging joyously, she does. Peggy’s a whole new turtle, I mean tortoise. And her chutzpah knows no bounds. We give Willa a soup bone to chew on at dinnertime almost every night. It’s a ritual she loves more than life itself. Peggy, bravely invading Willa’s territory, ambles right up to her and takes a little nibble. Sometimes she takes the whole thing. You’ll love the pictures below...
So what can we learn from good ol’ Peggy when our own particular gig is up? Well, first, it’s okay to “tuck in” and get your bearings...but not for long! Second, be on the look-out for a moment when you can get an unexpected kick...when staying in your “shell” clearly won’t be as much fun as having the “ride of your life,” whatever shape that might take...and take it. Third, have the chutzpah to assume that you’ll be welcome at a “new table” - soup bone and all - and present yourself with the charm, confidence and humor that can only come from ending one gig...and beginning another.
Gail Blanke’s Lifedesigns©2013 All Rights Reserved
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