Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finding Inspiration from Regis

Yeah, I'm with you.  That's not a title I'd expect from me either.  But there it is - and when I felt the inspiration coming over me, a quickening in my heart and a smile washing over my face - I thought that sharing it might be a great way to start off my renewed commitment to my blog.

Driving home last night, I was listening to a short piece on Regis Philbin's announcement that he will be retiring from "Regis and Kelly" sometime this year.  I'd seen the "news" splashed on the internet and, quite frankly, hadn't bothered to read beyond the headlines.

So I was listening with only half an ear when I heard the details: that Regis is 79 years old and has been the host of this particular show (and its predecessor, "Regis and Kathy Lee") for 28 years.  I remember (vaguely) when that show began and I also remember that, after a number of years, he decided to cash in on his beloved status with his audience and decided to very successfully host the first American version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

Let's face it.  He's been a huge presence on American TV for the past 28 years; and I know he was already "famous" when he took the Regis and Kathy Lee gig.  But an "inspiration?" Yes, the inspiration part burst forth when my mind started idly crunching the numbers.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself...  He's 79 now, and he began his gig on "Regis and Kathy Lee" 28 years ago.  That means he was 51 when he began that show.  51.  Who would have ever guessed that he'd become such a well-known, household name in our culture that his retirement from that show nearly thirty years later would be headline "news" blasted world-wide via the internet and covered by every major news outlet?  (And I ask you to humor me here, and let go of any judgments you might find cropping up about just what is considered "news" these days.)

I cannot help but think that he must have felt, at least on some level, that getting into a whole new genre on TV (as a morning talk show host), in a new and different format (with a younger woman as his bantering co-host), was a huge risk "at his age." 

Yet look at how it turned out.

He is beloved, as was evident on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (even if sometimes, more recently, he's been playfully made fun of on shows such as E!'s The Soup).

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to learn that I happen to be 51 at this moment in time.  And it's probably not hard to figure out that I'm entertaining ideas of taking on new and expanded roles and exploring some opportunities I might not have even dreamed of doing ten years ago, much less 28 years ago.

And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes my Voice of Fear harangues me: "You're too old to be branching out into that!" and "Why don't you just stick to what you've already started?  The 'tried and true?'" or "Shouldn't you have figured out who you are and what your 'career highlight' is - or should've been - by now?"

I do my best to push through those nasty self-comments that try to keep me from writing and teaching and trying new things.  And I'm almost always rewarded in amazing ways for persisting, for ignoring the scrunch in my stomach, for sticking my fingers in my ears and saying, "LALALALALA" while fielding a call from a person I just know is going to offer me a chance to do something scary and cool and way out of my comfort zone.

But now there's the added zest of reminding myself of Regis Philbin and telling myself, "Hey Lis, in 28 years, when you're pushing 80, maybe you'll be remembered for making a difference, or for being a source of good humor or warmth and compassion, as a result of doing something you're only just starting to do or put out into the world today."

Thanks, "Reeg."  Live longer, continue prospering, and enjoy your Joy.  You're an inspiration.

(My apologies for the inexcusable lapse in posting.)  


  1. “You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.” T.S. Eliot

    It seems like you're getting a lot of messages that this is the right thing to do, and I think deep-down you really know you're going to be great at teaching, etc.! You just need to take the first leap ;)

  2. YOU are forgiven ... apology accepted - write more! You do rule and you are "cusping" Seize it she said? I don't know.. that is my biggest problem .. I am only half listening most of the time..

    Happy Valentines Day