I have a pretty normal routine when I get up in the morning. The dog goes outside to sniff around the yard. I do my meditation and yoga. We both have some breakfast and I make tea. Then, just before I sit down to write, I quickly check email – which usually consist of friends sending me links to farm animals on Buzzfeed and an exciting opportunity to turn my computer into a money-making machine by working from home.
But last Thursday, I woke up to an interview request from Brazil.
I figured it might be a weird day.
And it was. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was in development. This was the first I had heard of it. Suddenly, I was being swamped with questions about whether or not I would be involved.
But here’s the thing:
No one has asked me to be involved.
It’s kind of like going ring shopping at Tiffany’s after your first date. Everyone just needed to take a deep breath for a minute.
I’m not sure even sure how I would feel about a sequel, let alone what my feelings are about being involved. I am retired from acting – it’s not the life that I want for myself. But if my friends/former co-workers ask me to consider something, I’m going to listen to what they have to say.
And really, who knows if the film will actually make it to production, or if my character, Lydia, will actually be in it, or a zillion other things that could come up in the meantime. There is no need for decisions yet.
The most interesting thing I had planned for the week was staining our back deck, but suddenly I found myself the topic of internet chatter. On Wednesday, I was just saying stuff. On Thursday, I was “making statements.”
It got a little overwhelming with emails and unanswerable questions and interview requests, especially because my answer to everything was a legitimate, yet wide-eyed, “I don’t know.” It felt like suddenly everything in my life was changing – it was totally out of my control. Chaos was swirling around and from where I stood, this Doubtfire thing seemed to be all everyone was talking about.
So, I did what I do when I feel stressed and ungrounded. I turned off my computer and went to my volunteer job at the animal shelter. I’m always more comfortable with animals and when I can stop thinking about my life and help someone else.
When I walked into the area where I usually work, there was a woman who I had never met before. When I opened the door she turned to me with a sudden look of joyful recognition.
“Are you the one that I’ve been hearing so much about?” She asked.
My face turned red. I really wanted to stop thinking about Doubtfire 2 for just a couple of hours. I wanted to just do my regular life stuff without hearing another opinion about what it means if I do it or don’t do it. I stumbled around and said something eloquent like:
“Uhhh. Oh, I donno.”
“Yes, you are! You are the one who has been working with Pumpernickel! What’s your name?”
Pumpernickel is a cat that came into the shelter about a month ago. She weighs barely 5 pounds and had been run over by a car. The clinic saved her and she is now up for adoption. She is absolutely adorable, but she has been deeply traumatized and tends to lash out unexpectedly. Pumpernickel has been my project and I’ve been socializing her — she recently transformed from attacking anyone that got near her, to being a snuggly lap-dweller and giver of tiny kitty kisses.
The vet heard she was doing well, and came to see Pumpernickel’s caregiver and say thank you. She doesn’t know anything about my life outside the shelter, and she doesn’t give a damn about what HuffPost Live was saying.
It was one of the prouder moments of my life.
I suddenly realized – that’s the shit I want to be famous for.
My priorities snapped back into line like a well-cracked knuckle. You know where else this “news” of Doubtfire 2 didn’t matter? At my yoga studio. At the farmer’s market. With my dearest friend who, after checking to see how I was doing with it all, mostly wanted to talk about the fact that she just learned she’d been buying the wrong bra size for years.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get whipped into a frenzy over entertainment news – especially when it involves being misrepresented in an Us Weekly headline. But the truth is, it doesn’t really change anything.
We all have those distractions that threaten to take over our lives. Those moments of drama where it appears that something is important just because everyone else is throwing their opinions around. That moment doesn’t have to define you. It’s can be interesting, sure. But it doesn’t need to displace the real things. It doesn’t need to become something bigger and better than the priorities you intentionally set for your life.
Whatever the outcome of this whole Doubtfire 2 thing – I’m still the same person who giggles at Buzzfeed lists, knows a lot about her friend’s new bra and tries to convince Pumpernickel to not scratch someone’s eyes out.