Movie Montage Syndrome (and how to fix it)


Let’s admit it. We all want the movie montage.

To the next big thing.

Personal milestones like: The dream job. The finished project. The Instagram following (woof).

Or even lifetime milestones we feel pressure about: Meeting the perfect partner. The wedding. The kids? (and not everyone wants that, btw)

Sometimes it’s to skip ahead to something we want fixed. Less debt. Less sadness. Or even a new president. Ha.

Looking back at our life, there are periods that in hindsight feel like they went by in a flash. In retrospect, they almost feel like they were 2 minutes long and set to music.

For me, that’s how my 2018 feels sometimes… Now sitting in March 2019, last year seems like a lightning-speed blur set to “Diva” by Beyoncé.

Yes, imagine you can hear the queen herself sing-rapping “…diva is a female version of a hustler…” and you see snippets of my year…marching at the Women’s March in Chicago waving a poster that reads “The Patriarchy is Cancelled,” entering the very extra Airbnb I rented in Nashville for my 30th birthday with some of my closest and beloved friends, alllll the way to me arriving at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, wind whipping at my face, and taking in the green grass and blue sea and wondering how EVERY movie is not set in Ireland.

But that montage. That flashy, sped-up summary of my year doesn’t even remotely tell the whole story.

There were so many moments along the way that shaped me and taught me and schooled me and strengthened my resolve.

And I wouldn’t have skipped any of those moments for the world.

Yup, even the shitty stuff.

Like when I got straight up ghosted after a first blind date (did I scare off the random dude wearing the Patagonia pullover?! Probably. Not mad about it.), or when my left wrist (broken in 2017) ached after the first cold day of the Fall, or when colleagues sitting next to me were laid off, or when I fell for someone unavailable and sobbed face-down on my bed to my mom on the phone.

Or worse, when I was quietly crying at work after reading too many bad stories in the news and having my PTSD triggered. (and no one noticed)

Those moments, though, they can’t be skipped over. You can’t cut them out of the story, and you can’t speed through ‘em.


In 2018, I gained even more self confidence, I learned what I needed, and how to give that to myself. I also got better at asking for help – something I’ve never been great at.

I realized my heart still worked even though I hadn’t used it in a while.

And I found gratitude for things I didn’t even notice before.

Because there were also so many *amazing* little itty bitty moments along the way. Much more than what makes the highlights reel.

There were small moments like getting my first testimonial as a coach from someone who simply attended my 3-day free training. Or realizing during family gatherings that I’ve slowly learned not to sweat the small stuff as much as I used to. Or even meeting a guy at a bar while scream-singing to “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” playing on a vintage jukebox and dancing like fools.

Those tiny moments add up. And those tiny moments brought me so much happiness and love and abundance and laughter.

And that’s the problem with our desire for the MONTAGE.

You forget to celebrate along the way.

You forget to smile at the corgi in the sweater at the coffee shop.

And you forget the salty, snotty tears that led to a touching personal discovery.

Going into this year, there’s been multiple moments already I somewhat wish I could “skip ahead” to. For instance, my move.

It was like a full-time job to purge my belongings, get them out of my old place, and settle into my new place.

But I did it. It’s done.

And I’m so grateful for every second of the process.

Because here’s what happened without the Fast Forward button:

  • I got to sell some of my furniture on the cheap to a young guy that needed it in my building
  • The rest I gave to the girl moving in (paying it forward the way the previous tenants left me things)
  • I Marie-Kondo’d my shit and got rid of a lot – choosing what would come with me very deliberately and methodically (btw old love notes from cheating boyfriends DO NOT SPARK JOY hahaha)
  • Due to my slow parting with my things (it was hard!) I ended up carrying or transporting my stuff to my new place throughout the month: ALL IN RESUABLE BAGS. No boxes were used in this move.
  • I recycled clothes that weren’t quite throw-out-able but weren’t fit for donation either – and with four large garbage bags slung over my shoulders, walked across 5 city blocks
  • And I took 9 donation bags to the Brown Elephant whose profits go to LGBTQ health – giving back to a reputable, inclusive, and change-making organization


Because without each of those steps, done in real time,  I wouldn’t feel the way I do now.

And I wouldn’t have learned lessons about the vibe I needed in my new place.

I wouldn’t have found tiny notes hiding in bins and folders with handwriting from people no longer with us. Nor would I have rediscovered my favorite t-shirt (hiding stealthily at the back of my closet). And I wouldn’t have said “goodbye” and “thank you” to the things and apartment that no longer served me.

We can’t go through the montage reel in life because we’re not actors playing a part.

We’re real people. Who grow. And experience growing pains from that growth. And bad days. And lack of sleep. And spilled coffee. And nicks on your ankle while shaving your legs.

And that’s what makes us who we are.

People. Real People. In real time. In real life.

So enjoy the journey, loves.

It’s really not so bad.

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