Recognizing the BreadcrumbsTo Your Destiny


It's amazing how everything becomes clearer in retrospect. Reviewing your life, you can see roles, proclivities, talents, interests, dreams, and all sorts of themes running throughout your life, sometimes practically knocking you over the head to notice the patterns, the clues - 

I was the last of five kids, born for late-in-life parents. My role, coming into the party late was to not cause trouble or have needs, but be sure my older sibs and their rebellion and disruptions were receiving the necessary attention. To that end, with so many heavy adult themes, I became a wee entertainer, putting on shows, making others laugh, and generally finding ways to entertain myself by not asking for help, but building my own forts, creating a Barbie car from a shoebox, and being the leader among my friends who asked, "what pretend do we play today?"

My mother was a researcher and we practically lived at the library. With the older sibs in school and me too young, she'd take me along the rows of silence and dusty books where somehow, these objects gave my mom a sense of historical understanding. To keep from growing bored, I learned to look up subjects of things of interest. My mind was quick and creative and I loved the worlds of biolgraphies, mostly ones about actors as I envied their careers based on make believe. It was a world I swam in. Hell, I did laps in it. 

I daydreamed about living in California and being a surfer like Gidget, maybe do some acting and modeling on the side. 

My friends would sleepover and beg me to tell them nighttime stories. We would lie in the beds and they would give me weird objects and strange places or people to incorporate in the story. "Tell me one about a prince, a garbage can, and an apple orchard." And so, off the cuff, I told an engaging story. 

I daydreamed about being a writer of children's books. 

I entered seventh grade and proceeded to take six years of acting for which I had abysmal talent, even though I loved make believe. I was intimidated by natural actors and I didn't know who I was as I spent most of my time daydreaming about who I wanted to become. Still, I feel in love with the theater, the smells, the crafts, and all facets of putting on plays. I became proficient at makeup, especially special effects and costuming. 

I daydreamed about being a fashion designer or doing makeup for film.

At one point, having grown tall, I decided to put the basketball away and skateboard away and become a model. I loved having the runway and the attention. It was like putting on a show. I had a relationship with the camera that was uncanny. I found my bliss. I decided to enter pageants to see what it would be like to compete. I had dreamed as a small child of being in Miss USA and after a few pageants, I entered Miss Arizona USA. By this time I was in college and my focus was English and communications with a fixation on Literature to Film and scripts. 

I daydreamed about being a film critic.

I became bored with modeling and disillusioned by pageants. They taught me some skills, but left me hungry fo something more. One judge at a pageant elbowed me during a cocktail party and asked, "why would such an intelligent woman choose to be in pageants?" I pondered the same thing. I believe it was the challenge. I felt rather plain and if I could win that, it'd be an interesting notch on my belt. 

I married, moved away to California - of all places! Coincidence? Sometimes, I have to give it over to the universe that if we don't make our destiny happen, it will put it right in our path. I worked in clothing stores during the Big 80s and it was fun and fashion, but I knew my mind was way too quick to just usher people to dressing rooms and ring up orders.

When I had my son, I decided to try my hand and writing novels, romance ones. I had just finished writing one and taking some night courses in writing when my local paper showed an ad that there was a romance writers association conference going on. I rushed over with my script and met an editor from one of my favorite romance publishing companies. She loved my talent and worked with me through a few manuscripts to get me published, but eventually life got in the way and felt I was wasting my time living in a make believe world of romance 

I daydreamed about sharing my interest in ghost investigations and all things paranormal. 

Recovering from an Achilles reattachment and doing a job I was excellent at but was just a practical choice (typing up medical reports), my son took me aside and said, "Mom, you're going to be unable to walk for months. Stop crying that you can't do anything and start a blog, maybe talk about ghost stuff." 

The researcher in me perked up. Writing and putting my nose into books - what a combo! He taught me how to blog (at the height of blogging) and I picked it up quickly. I started Ghost Hunting Theories blog and not only got to discuss all things paranormal, but readers told me to enter writing contests, so I did. And I won.

I daydreamed about writing a nonfiction, paranormal book about investigating the unexplained.

My ghost hunting best friend and I decided to write about horror and paranormal subjects and published our first joint book. Then another and another. Over a decade, I published 2 dozen books, was on numerous podcasts and radio shows and found I was fine public speaker (Communications Major in college).

One day, an actor in New York contacted me wanting to option a short story I wrote - a horror one about scarecrows. We started having meetings with a screenwriter and working out plot ideas. Then, his career took a different direction and it fizzled.

I daydreamed about being in the film industry.

Now a single woman and looking for meetup groups that might be areas of interest, I saw one for film industry. I figured I'd go to a meeting and see what it was like. In my college studies of literature and film and scripting, I had played with scriptwriting, but I wasn't sure if I was made for it until I was told that my writing would make exceptional scripts. I hadn't looked at how my character development and dialogue, mood, and pacing were ideal for a script. 

I showed up at the meeting that had a seasoned producer/cinematographer/director leading it. He wanted us to all work to a point of being able to make a short film. I was in! I didn't think I'd act. I wasn't sure I was qualified for much. I figured he already had a script in mind, so I remained quiet until I found myself attending meetings, contributing, and even offering to write a script.

I daydreamed about being a screenwriter.

Pretty soon we were pitching an episodic series idea to a studio. I was writing sample scenes for the episodes. We were filming the short scene samples. My writing and creative concepts were getting recognition from the team.

I went on with life, assuming that these things maybe weren't going to come to fulfillment. Then, one day out of the blue I got a call asking if I wanted to join a major film project. The team hadn't forgotten my capabilities and thought of me right away. Before I knew it, I was attending zoom meetings weekly for a project that would forever change filmmaking. Not expecting more than perhaps editing a script, I found out I was earmarked for the writing staff, as well as playing a part in the film. The childhood dream of writing a movie and being in a movie were suddenly happening!

This taught me that how you treat others, how hard you work, how talented you, how pleasant you are to deal with all add up to "go-to" status. You never know who is watching or who will get a big opportunity and remember, "oh that Sharon! She's ideal for this. I want to work with her." 

The zen saying "the way you do anything is the way you do everything" is true!

This led me to other projects and other scripting opportunities. My first full screenplay was optioned right away. I was given more screenplay writing opportunities and even documentaries (another big goal as a researcher!).  

I never really thought I'd be involved in filmmaking. It was an avocation to me - I simply kept writing blogs and books and studying films to learn what sang to me, what style I envisioned if I were to do a film. You know, that armchair thing we do, "if I did this film, I'd cast someone else in the lead role," "that was a horrible ending. I feel ripped off!" 

Your breadcrumbs are easy to identify - what do you daydream about, are drawn to, do as a hobby, can't get enough of? 

A timeline of your life helps - elementary school years, high school, college, work life, marriage and kids.... What are the themes that keep churning though your life? How about that daydream you have of living a different life like swinging in a hammock in The Keys or succeeding in NYC? Is there a culture you identify with - the burning man folks or maybe the homesteading gardeners? 

When you had free credits to study in college, were you drawn to interior design? Maybe carpentry? Do you tend to go to Renaissance Festivals and Highland Games every year and love reading history books? 

Destiny doesn't have to mean you drop your career and chase a dream, but maybe that all the things that make you you actually make sense. You can own the genuine you while you live the life you have in front of you. You wanted to be a surfer? Wear hemp jewelry and go to the water park. Maybe you think you should have been a 1930s aviatrix, sport the accessories or write a biography about Amelia Earhart.