The Nomadic Now
I’m getting a lot of queries from clients, colleagues, and my soon-to-be-graduating students alike about what to apply to, when, and how. Some of the best advice I’ve been given about this by the folks running fests, contests, fellowships, labs, my managers, and fellow colleagues is to really do your research and submit your project for the fests, labs, contests, and fellowships for which it’s best suited. Seems obvious, but I always hear about Fear Of Missing Out like, maybe I should submit this to [Sundance deadline is today, so let’s say Sundance] anyway even if…
…it doesn’t seem like the right fit. But who knows?
…I’m not done writing it but I can rush to make this deadline.
…I should make this deadline because… everyone else is? and if they get in they’ll move on without me? I’ll feel like I wasted an opportunity because I need to before I’m… 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80–?
One of the most sage bits of advice I ever received I’m going to full on credit to Ron Friedman
, comedy writer and professor extraordinaire, who helped cure me of my FOMO which gave me the courage to follow my heart by telling me–
There is no train coming. You are not tied to the tracks.
Lightbulb. I wasn’t a damsel in distress. I didn’t need saving. I could save myself, dammit, and I did. Time and again. It wasn’t easy. I’ve turned down opportunities to work on films and TV shows that were really awesome and hilarious and with good people so I know the experiences could have been magical but–
It wasn’t the right opportunity for me at the right time.
And there are choices I’ve made to take opportunities that proved devastatingly stressful to pursue – taking a toll on my health mentally and physically. But I love doing All The Things, and I was too afraid to say no.
Too often, we push ourselves to make it the right time, for fear that the opportunity won’t come around again, or that life is short, so we should carpe diem–
– but I’m realizing now that this pressure we put on ourselves to take an opportunity even if the cost to pursue it (financially, logistically, psychologically, spiritually) feels like it could be too high is the source of much of our existential creative struggle between who we are, could be, should be, would be if only…
Navigating our dreams and our realities is always going to be hard as we juggle the myriad responsibilities we have as members of our respective communities – family, friends, neighbors, citizens – and seek to align those priorities with our highest truths, and finding joy.
This is what Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland made me think about, and it’s still with me. #zeitgeist #nomofomo