When Chevy Chase first welcomed the world to the famous American Comedy Sketch we love and refer to as “SNL”, he didn’t yell out “A dress rehearsal from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” No, that wouldn’t have quite had the same effect or have left your body covered in goosebumps as you hear it in person while sitting in refurbished seats taken from the old Yankee Stadium. (That’s right, Dad, my little bum sat in the original seats that were in Yankee Stadium. I know the Red Sox lover in you is a little jealous and that I am going to have to figure out a way to get your bum in those seats the next time you visit.) It also doesn’t quite have the same ring to it and wouldn’t leave people choosing to keep their couches, TV, and pj’s company on a Saturday night when they could be out on the town instead. No my friends, Mr. Chevy Chase started the first SNL with the famous phrase that now has kicked off every show (except the season of 1981-1982) by psyching up viewers with the saying “LIVE from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” That being said, when you camp out overnight in a freezing downpour with nothing but Kmart fold up chairs, blue and orange plastic tablecloths tied together over your head to keep you dry, ordering Thai food to be delivered to that “tarp” that you are residing at for the evening (that was fun to explain!), a garbage bag over your legs to serve as a blanket, and making friends with the 24 hour deli guy across the street so you have a place to use the bathroom all night, you don’t play it safe and go with the lowest ticket number for the dress rehearsal so you have a better chance of getting in to see Anna Kendrick and Pharrell Williams. You go all out and take a risk by selecting to be #30 in the standby line for the live showing. But once again, this isn’t the Daily Dose of Genevieve’s Life that you’ve come to read about. Or maybe you have because you never know what is going to happen next in this crazy city I have grown to absolutely love. (Okay, come back down Genevieve, they aren’t reading to hear about how you met Mindy Kalling last week and how she asked you to sit on her lap when you had your picture taken with her. Nor to hear about your experience running into Brandon Stanton, the photographer from Humans of New York, while running around Penn Station trying to find Kmart to get last minute supplies to camp out for SNL tickets. (I couldn’t resist throwing these two moments in here since they have become two highlights of my New York experience.) The mission behind my blog is to give you, the loyal reader, a dose of Vitamin B through informative posts on health and fitness. Oh but I’ve always been one to enjoy a good challenge, so to that I say. Challenge accepted! And like overcoming most challenges, there is a risk or a chance that is taken. Which is exactly what this post is about.
Why You Should Take Chances In Life
Folks, I’m a firm believer that a fulfilling life involves taking chances from time to time. Taking chances leads to
Building Confidence – There’s a sense of pride in knowing you were able to accomplish something you didn’t know you could. (Or simply the fact that you were courageous enough to give it a shot).
New Opportunities – One of my least favorite things to hear people say is “So-and-so got lucky.” I don’t believe in luck. I do however believe in the saying that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Sometimes we have to make our own luck and one of the ways to do this is by taking chances in life to discover new opportunities.
Leads to Growth – Whether your chances bring a new opportunity or simply give you something to learn from, taking chances help you grow as a person.
Many other benefits come from taking chances including a more creative mindset, an optimistic perspective on life, and a more outgoing persona. But the most important thing that all of these benefits have in common, is that taking chances creates happiness. A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that people who take risks tend to have less dopamine-obstructing receptors and therefor more dopamine in their brains. Dopamine is our feel good hormone that is released when we eat food that satisfies our taste buds, are around people who make us smile, and the high that comes from taking a risk.
This explains the squeals and laughter we were filled with after contemplating which ticket we should choose. We could go the safe route with the standby dress rehearsal which would almost guarantee we would be in. Or take a risk by going all out and selecting the higher number for the live showing which came with a very slim chance of us making it in. Granted, these squeals didn’t come until after we’d been moved through the line and our excitement levels were toyed with as the staff slowly pulled people out of the line in front of us to be taken upstairs. But we had made it through the initial line. At this point, Ali and I blamed the building’s sauna like heating system, but I think it was our nerves that left us in a flooding state of sweaty palms and foreheads. Then we made it to the security line as we anxiously made small talk with the security about the most random topics that could come to our minds, just to distract us from the drips of sweat that were now seeping through my hairline from anticipation. All I could think about was hearing our numbers called to advance to the next line where we would wait to hear if we at least made it into the elevators to take us up to the next floor. In the next group, Ali and I were the last two to be taken onto the elevator and moved up to the floor where we would wait to see if a wrist band was distributed to us to next make it into the studio. I couldn’t help but take a little risk and snap a selfie group shot in the elevator for a visual memory of what we were experiencing right then. (Notice the mix of excitement and nerves going on!) The doors opened, and a woman had us line up in numerical order. Slowly she took individuals and handed them a wristband. Ali and I tried to calmly accept ours when she handed them to us, though we couldn’t help but exchange a little grin through our nervous faces as we realized how close we were. But yet so far. We were guided down the hallway filled with pictures of famous hosts and casts and the attire they wore while on SNL. And then, we saw it. The original set where Saturday Night Live all started. This was the set that brought hours of laughter into my family’s house when we would watch The Judy Miller Show with tears streaming down Mom’s face as Gilda Radner imitated a young girl. Looking back, I think she enjoyed it even more because she saw a little bit of my and my sister’s behavior being reenacted by a grown woman. I couldn’t help but allow myself to get a little excited, though I didn’t want to jinx it. See, you aren’t actually considered “in” until your bum is sitting in one of those retired Yankee Stadium chairs, the lights have gone off, you hear a cameraman ever so slowly countdown from 2 minutes to the opening skit, and those famous words are projected letting you know this is it, you made to “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
Anna Kendrick and Pharrell Williams were worth every minute camping out the night before. They were worth spending the rest of the weekend trying to overcome sleep deprivation. And you better believe they were worth the anxiety I experienced all day up until the moment when Keenan Thompson came out on stage to welcome everyone to the show. The cherry on top was listening to Pharrell sing “Happy” as Ali and I grabbed each other’s hands in disbelief that we were here and it really felt like we were in “a room without a roof.” It was the perfect addition to our experience as we clapped along to “clap along if you know what happiness is to you”. Well Pharrell, happiness is taking chances and having no regrets. Knowing that we’re making the most out of life and taking advantage of everything that it has to offer. Including sitting in on a live performance of SNL, making new friends who you share your life story with because there’s nothing else to do while sitting on the streets of New York, and following it up by mistakenly walking out the door where all the celebrities and SNL cast members exit into a swarm of their adoring fans. Oops! It’s okay though, all the dopamine that had been released into our brains from that day enabled us to go out with the confidence to own the idea that we, too could be important icons that people would want to take their picture with. And we wouldn’t have had that opportunity had we not taken a few chances along the way.
What was the last big chance you took and how did it benefit you?