5 years ago by
Hello! Welcome to “Dear Garance…” where Garance answers readers questions in her monthly newsletter! You can sign up for the newsletter here to read Garance’s May advice. And if you have a question you’d like Garance to answer, please submit it to [email protected]. We encourage questions of all types; love, relationships, family, personal dilemmas, the meaning of life, and of course, career. Below is the question Garance answered for April.
….I’m at a crossroads in life. I’m 25 and I’ve been an actor since I was 7. The past couple of years the offers have dried up and I don’t quite know what to do. I haven’t gone to college and I’ve never had any other job. I love acting but I don’t love feeling left behind as my friends all settle into their careers and lives and I flounder. I was wondering if you think there’s such a thing as vocation? Do you think everyone has a calling? If you really love something and have done it in the past does that mean you should persevere even when it starts to seem impossible? Or is that just insanity? How long is too long to knock on a door that isn’t opening to you?
First I would like to tell you the thing that I had always wish someone had told the twenty five year old me: come on, relax.
Of course probably everyone told me, but I wasn’t able to listen. I was way too focused on freaking out. Takes a lot of energy to do so!
You ask me if vocations exist. I think that, for some people, they do. For the rest of us, it gets interesting – our callings come, go, change and evolve.
Take mine for example. I just wanted to be an illustrator. Doors were pretty much locked and I could find no way in. My failing is what pushed me to open my blog, to write, to pick up a camera. To get to know myself better.
I understood that if I had such thing as a calling, it was broader and wider than the very standard path I had envisioned.
Oh, how we limit ourselves.
My calling was to tell stories. To inspire others through my images and my words. The precise shape of that could change throughout the years.
How do I know it’s my calling?
Not because I am successful at it. Not because it’s what brings me money. Not because my friends think it’s cool.
I know it’s my calling because anytime I get slightly off my path a weird pain gets to me. Nagging and real. Heavy and familiar.
I can’t control it. I’ve tried! I’ve tried to be more of what I think people want me to be. Many of the stories I tell on my blog are about that, actually. And my quest for freedom.
There are the times when I’m real. I’m me. The times when I’m writing, illustrating, photographing. I don’t think about anything else. I’m flowing. I’m here in the present. Excited and at peace at the same time because this is what I am supposed to do.
That bliss is my calling.
It will maybe take you a few more years to learn to listen to the signs, but to me, it sounds like you already have so much clarity.
You made choices, you picked a carrier, you’re able to put words to your frustration.
But it’s slow right now.
Here is my advice : use the slow.
Use the time that’s given to you.
When I was twenty five, some of my friends seemed to have it all together. The jobs, the apartments, the steady relationships.
And I was trying really hard, myself.
But I was also messy, emotional, curious, hungry for more. I still am! That’s what makes me, me. That’s what connects me with you. That’s what makes me a storyteller.
So Madeleine, relax, and go live.
Learn new tongues, get your heart broken, taste new foods, fall deeply in love, fail at writing a book, work a month, travel a month, go to the Festival D’Avignon, make mistakes, feel what it is to be human.
Ease into your life. Trust your soul that’s hungry for more. Nobody has it together. You’ll find yourself. And you’ll see that it had always been there.
Sending you love,
Good advice, Garance and I couldn’t agree more. At 25 I was in an administrative position wondering when my “life would start”. 25 years later and many, many winding roads I am self-employed and loving my work. It took a lot of closed doors, heart aches and hard, hard, hard work to get here but it’s been an amazing journey. Buckle up and keep your eyes open – what you are searching for is working its way towards you too. ;)
what a fantastic bit of advice, Garance. I love the idea to ‘use the slow’ – that’s something I’ve had to learn to do and struggled so much with in my 20’s. I remember feeling that my self worth was equal to the number of clients, projects or files on my computer! It does help to get a few good little jobs behind you. Maybe our writer Madeleine should try a few more avenues that are untapped and not be judgmental about them or too focused on the final outcome.
The best mentor advice I ever got was: do your small jobs well, focus on the little successes (whether it’s a great detail or mastering a singular line of acting) and make sure to show them off. I’m an architect, so for me this means to photograph all my work… even the ones I consider ‘bread and butter.’ For an actor it would be documenting that work and not being embarrassed to show it to future potentials. Men tend to be much better at this than women.. I think it’s why they sprint ahead at certain parts of their career.
I’m 41 and now relish the time between jobs rather than panic. Garance I love that you’re about my age and are experiencing a similar calm. I also love hearing about your illustrating process and can clearly see that it’s your true calling! It seems to be the output of your introverted self, while the blog and writing derives from your extroverted nature. And the two are a brilliant combination!
Love this, it helped me so much. I feel the same way as Madeleine and also how Garance felt. It feels like I’m stuck doing the same boring thing every day and like I’m not improving myself. This helped me realize that it’s very important to stop overthinking what I’m doing and just enjoy life. I think I will start getting my creative juices flowing and pick up my camera again. Thanks for reminding me and every other person that feels the same way! Love hearing your wisdom Garance
Oh, my God! I have to print this letter and mail it to my daughter! It has the right wonders and answers! Love it!
‚Oh how we limit ourselves!‘ So true. I’m heading towards a new career path, a calling that I always knew was there. Our souls take their own time. I love to trust in this slow development and i’m so excited what’s going to unfold in front of me. I‘m sure most of it is far beyond my imagination. So let’s just trust the process! Thank you so much for this inspiring post Garance.
Curious about why you mention Festival D’Avignon. Did something happen there for you?
As another lost 20-something I’m searching for some kind of freedom, but it’s tough.
Bravo! Great advice, I wish I read this at 25. One question is did you have to make compromises on your journey that helped and some that still feel not that great?
love it! i am going to be emailing this to my lil sis!