American Life: Stephen Tobolowsky On His "Fascinating"—And True!—Stories
"They’re all true, and they all happened to me," he tells Advocate Magazine in a new interview. While the narratives he shares in his speeches are entertaining even on the surface level, he makes deeper connections about how the things that happen to us and the people we meet can dramatically alter (and sometimes, define) our lives. In the Advocate Magazine interview (where the publication called him "fascinating"), he shares one of these stories and the underlying takeaway he received from it.
After graduating from university, he and his then-girlfriend were invited to enter into a graduate program at the University of Illinois. While they were both unhappy with the location, they took the opportunity to make the most of their time there. And, as he says, the connections and friends he made while in Illinois helped kick-start his career. What's the lesson here? When life throws you a curve ball, you have to look at it as an opportunity, and make the most of it. "If I could say one thing to young people out there, it’s this," he concludes in the interview, "when you feel that life is taking you in the wrong direction, instead of feeling all that despair [and] thinking, 'I’m lost, I’m lost, I’m lost,' just remember that it may be a way to be found, too." Further: "Don’t despair. There may be clues around you that lead to a happy and prosperous life."