Last night was the Oscars, and I read a tweet that said “I wish I would have seriously pursued my first love of acting”, and I replied by saying “It’s never too late! Just start.” It made me think about Ava DuVernay, and how she didn’t pick up a camera until she was 33 years old.
As a child she wanted to be a lawyer, and then a journalist. In college she didn’t even study film; she studied African-American history at UCLA. It wasn’t until she became a publicist, where she was on movie sets with filmmakers that she realized she could be a filmmaker too.
It all began with her just trying something new. It’s never too late to begin a new dream and work towards a new goal. We get attached to this concept of time. I have to be a millionaire by 25, married by 28, and have kids by 30, I need to be the greatest filmmaker of all time by 35. The truth is we don’t know when these things are going to happen, or if that’s our path, but we set the expectation in our minds that we need to have milestones done by a certain age and time. It’s not wrong to be goal-oriented, or to have a five year plan, but you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so don’t get caught up by the concept of time.
This is something I had to work on, looking so far ahead into the future that I wasn’t appreciating the now. I still have some of my original goals, and some have also changed, but I don’t give myself a time frame to complete them.
Being twenty-something is the time to try it all. I think we sometimes become fearful of how hard the work will be, but that’s self-doubt and we don’t have time for that. If you want it, you have to work for it. You think when Ava decided she wanted to direct movies she sat around and pondered, or worried about how she was 33 and that it could be too late? Nahhh. She worked over time and learned new skills.
If it wasn’t for DuVernay growing up in Compton, studying African American history, or becoming a publicist and working on film sets, how would we have gotten Selma? How would we have gotten 13th? Her experiences through life all lead up to this point of her becoming a filmmaker, they all lead up to the types of films she’s directed.
And that’s how this works. Your experiences, your current nine to five that you dislike, your degree that you’re finishing up in college because it was too late to switch majors, your first business venture that failed, they shape your experiences for your ultimate purpose.
Keep going. Keep trying new things. Just start. You can’t get time back, and you can’t predict your future, you don’t have control over that so let it go. But you can control how hard you work to achieve your goals, and you can control the mindset you choose to live in. Choose to start.
Image courtesy of Vogue, January 2015, photographed by Prakash Shroff.
Video courtesy of CNN.