Change.  It’s scary.  It’s awesome.  It’s necessary.

When I was seventeen years old, my father got a new job offer in Arizona.  Did I mention the part where we lived in New Jersey?  Go look on a map.  Arizona is about as far west as you can go before hitting, well, California and the Pacific Ocean.  Did I mention the other part where I got to decide whether he should take it and move himself, my Mom and me across the country right before my senior year of high school?

I said let’s do it.  And we did.  I started a new school my senior year in Scottsdale.  Was I crazy?  What about all my friends I grew up with?  What about all the cool senior year stuff like football games and prom and graduation?

The truth is this:  My parents had a dream to move to Arizona for as long as I could remember, a dream that as it was seemed always beyond their grasp.  This job offer would change that.  Who was I to tell them no?

Moving from New Jersey to Arizona is a great change.  Especially when you are seventeen.  You change:  You change your hair, cutting off that long mop look that New Jersey kids had and going razor short like the Arizona kids; your wardrobe changes from sweaters and jeans to tanktops and shorts (otherwise you’ll burst into flames from the heat); best of all, you have the opportunity to change who you are.

Let’s face it:  I was a scared kid.  Everything intimidated me:  People, animals, gym class, the school bus.  You have no idea how much time I would spend standing at the bus stop worrying about who I would sit next to that day when the bus arrived.  Now we were in an entirely new world.  And I had the choice to change, to be bold, to be brave, to do as I watched my dad do and go for it, or to stay intimidated, stay scared, stay small.

On my first day of senior year at my new school, I entered my first class just as the bell rang.  The desks were long tables arranged in a big square, with the teacher seated in the corner.  There were three open seats.  One seat had a big bag in it that clearly belonged to the girl sitting next to it who looked like she had no intention of moving it.  Another seat was next to a kid who had his foot on it and it didn’t look like he had any intention of moving it either.  The last seat was in between two guys.  I didn’t notice it cause I was debating whether to go for the bag or foot chair options.  But the one guy waved me over to the open one in between him and his buddy.  I took a big breath of courage and walked over and sat down in between the co-captains of the soccer team, who would become this former scared kids two best friends that year.

This former scared kid went on to make more friends:  Monica and Vanessa, the two beautiful popular girls; Jason, the stoner; and Brynna, the all-American good girl who resembled a librarian.  My friends were like a Benetton ad.  The interesting thing was that they didn’t know anything about my past and I didn’t know anything about theirs.  This former scared kid broke the clique boundaries that they all had installed upon themselves years prior.  And this former scared kid broke some of his own boundaries.  Most importantly, he stopped using scared and intimidated as his “go to” emotions, replacing them with a big breath of courage and a “why not?” emotion.

My senior year of high school redefined me.  It redefined who I had been up until that point.  It redefined who I would become.  And yes, to this day, I still have dreams where I’m back in New Jersey, I’m my grown self, everyone of my friends is still seventeen and trying to convince me that I was back there to finish my senior year with them.

In the 27 years since, change and I have become best friends.  I live for it.  I thrive on it.  And yes there are still those moments when scared and intimidated pop in to test my resolve.  Like six months ago, when after twenty years living in Los Angeles, we decided to move to Palm Springs.

Jim and I bought a getaway place in Palm Springs a few years ago.  We’d spend weekends there, sometimes once or twice a month.  In January 2012, we started joking, “Let’s move out of LA to Palm Springs” and “Let’s do it by New Years,” which became “Let’s do it by Thanksgiving,” which became “Let’s do it by Halloween,” which became, “Let’s do it by October 1st.”  Around that date choice, Jim got the job offer, too good to turn down, and guess when it starts?  September 28th.  We were only off by a few days.

I remember Jim calling me from his second interview and saying, “They’ve offered me the job, it’s too good to turn down.  Should I take it?”

Without any hesitation, with my best friend change cheering me on over my shoulder, I said, “Take it.”

He said, “But what will you do for work?”

I said, “I’ll figure it out.”

I’ll be honest:  I was insane to leave my job.  It was the best job I ever had.  I had been promoted the year before.  I was making crazy good money.  I was on the path.  The brass ring was in sight.  And I gave my notice because the truth is, it wasn’t fun anymore.  It had become a job.  A job I loved, don’t get me wrong, but it had begun to feel like a job several months prior.

So here I was again, seventeen and looking at my senior year in high school.  Do I keep things safe?  I didn’t even have any other work or job set up.  I’m a TV promotions and marketing writer/director/producer/editor.  What kind of work was I going to find almost two hours outside of Los Angeles?

I wasn’t.  I would have to do what I did many years ago, create my own new self.  I’m proud to say things have worked out quite nicely:  I opened my own marketing/promotions/production company.  I set up a major client before I left my old job with my old job.  And I’ve opened myself up to new clients, new creatives, and new ideas.

The past six months have been amazing.  And yes, at times, terrifying.  There is nothing fun about not knowing when your next job will be or chasing down checks.  But the phone keeps ringing.  The emails keep coming.  It’s all been right here. I just had to make a major change and open myself to it.

Most importantly, just like my teenage change, this change has made me happy.  It’s been fun.  And if it’s not fun, I’m not gonna do it.


Steve Silverman is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning playwright and web series creator.  He’s had more than twenty plays – and one musical – produced nationwide.  His two web series, PRETTY and THE INN, have been viewed more than a million times combined, worldwide, and have featured the likes of Kirsten Vangsness, Genie Francis, Joan Van Ark, Crystal Chappell and many more.  In the promo world, he’s won three Promax awards and has worked for FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, BRAVO, THE WB/CW and directed such fine folks as Whoopi Goldberg, Cloris Leachman, Zooey Deschanel, and all five of the boys from QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY.  Steve lives in Palm Springs with Jim and their three dogs and two cats; yes you read that correctly.


 Watch THE INN: www.theinnseries.comWatch PRETTY:www.prettytheseries.comHOT AS HELL Web




  1. Trica

    Steve, this was exactly what I needed to read today! what a beautiful, inspirational essay. I read something recently that said, in part, don’t confuse your vocation with your life purpose.I think you recognized this in your own life.I’m so proud of you for moving forward and not letting the fear take over. I’m older than you ( I’m in the “cool Aunt” age range!) and I’ve learned a lot about being brave from this so thank you. 🙂 XO

    • alison

      Yes, Trica, I agree what a beautiful and poignant article by Steve. I will make sure he receives your comments and thank you for providing them–Alison

Share This