Lubricate your eyeballs

The letter request:

I’ve just turned 25, I’ve never had a proper job in my life (i am not including cooking and barrista-ing for 4 years), I’m doing a doco course that i LOVE but that freaks me out (spending every day wondering am i good enough to even try to be a filmmaker?). I also do not have any skills, other than my cafe skills, that would help me support myself. So i need a letter that tells me it’s ok to be so utterly confused about life, money and career at the age of 25. oh and that i will, one day, meet a person to fall in love with! and that it’s not that I’m a complete weirdo, it’s just that i’m special.


The letter:

Dear Vessal,

Congratulations on recently turning 25 – wow! That’s awesome. It’s such a fantastic age to be. But also, I’m afraid, an age of robust introspection and rampant bewilderment. Some questions that may have flittered across your mind’s eye of late are sure to have included the following:

a) What am I doing with my life?
b) Do I have any prospect of succeeding in what I really want to be doing?
c) Am I good enough?
d) What is art?
e) Is art important? (as deemed by Nicole Kidman at the 2003 Academy Awards)
f) Should I explore back-up career options?
g) What am I doing with my life?

In a nutshell I can tell you that the answers to these questions are:

a) Studying to be a documentary filmmaker.
b) Yes.
c) Definitely.
d) The act of creating.
e) You bet (although is this really a valid excuse for attending a glitzy awards show just after a war has been declared?).
f) Nah.
g) Studying to be a documentary filmmaker, watching films, meeting new folks, eating, drinking, laughing, tobogganing, worrying about bigger issues and doing something about them, loving family and friends, telling stories that are important to be told.

We’re blessed our generation; we’ve thrown away the rule-book. No longer is our pre-determined path to find a sensible job that we hate, and stick with it for four decades until our mind cannibalises our soul and regurgitates it with a dry-retch that sounds a lot like, ‘What the fuck just happened??’

It’s our duty to use this fortunate position we’ve inherited in life to be the very best we can possibly be in the area that most rocks our world. And congratulations, you’ve already worked out what this is for you! That places you top of the class as most people don’t work this out till they’re 50-years-old and returning home from a long, mind-numbing day at the office; they’re driving up the Hume Highway towards their mortgage in Craigieburn when suddenly they realise that something isn’t right, their life isn’t right, so they decide not to turn off at the exit but to keep on heading north to see what long-dormant dreams can be resuscitated. Others never work it out.

You LOVE filmmaking, so filmmaking is what you must do. Tick. You got yourself accepted into probably the best documentary course in the country which means you are totally worthy and talented. Tick. Filmmaking is a galvanising force that can be used to make us all just that little bit more aware and compassionate. Bonus gold star.

Money. Money will always be a struggle but how about we start with this as a game plan:

a) Make a list of all the work you’d be ok doing to pay the rent while you’re doing what you really want to be doing, i.e. making films;
b) Cross off the list anything that will require a substantial investment in time or money, e.g. extra training;
c) Consider what is left and work out what is the minimum number of hours you can do this money-job in order to get by;
d) Pursue money-job, while always on the look-out for how you can turn this experience into a documentary;
e) Keep making your films.

This confounding introspection you’re experiencing is normal; everybody has it and it’s probably worth your while getting friendly with it because the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t go away. It will likely be with you forever so you might as well get to know it; hold hands with it, give it a hug, pash it, maybe even cop a feel if you’re feeling ballsy.

And here’s the cool bit – while the feelings you’re experiencing may be normal, you yourself are most definitely NOT. You’re exceptional, unique, extraordinary, incomparable, you have really awesome hair. And all of this will stand you in very good stead when you chance upon that special person with whom you’ll fall in love!

So stride forward with confidence in your step, your chin held high and your eyes open wide. Only, not in a way that will freak people out – take care to blink occasionally, it’s important to lubricate your eyeballs.

You can do it, I believe in you and I, after all, would know.

Much love,
Vessal xx