From my Journal: 8.8.2018
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my work as an artist, tied up with the concept that nobody is watching my creative pursuits - or at least as closely as a 20-something might feel like they are. The pressure - the insecurities are all real things that shouldn’t be diminished, but what if we felt a little more free to try and fail at whatever we want? Without so much fear that someone would call us out and question us for it?
I’ve been slowly making my way through Big Magic for the past few months (both because I love digesting Elizabeth Gilbert’s wisdom one paragraph at a time, and also because I’m a bit of an unmotivated reader), and one of my favorite passages in the book, is within a chapter that she shares the wisdom which she received in her “insecure twenties” from a strong, wise, woman in her seventies.
The woman essentially tells Gilbert that throughout her life, she has felt a growing freedom with each new decade, from the pressure of needing to be perfect.
She said: "We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we're worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of us. But you won't be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth - nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow."
Because at the end of the day, people don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing, or how well you’re doing it - they’re busy thinking about themselves.
And then Gilbert say’s this: (which I LOVE so much - and why I'm choosing to share this whole story in the first place)
“While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren’t anyone else’s first order of business, there is also a great release to be found in this idea. You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you.
Go be whomever you want to be, then.
Do whatever you want to do.
Pursue whatever fascinates you and brings you life.
Create whatever you want to create - and let it be stupendously imperfect, because it’s exceedingly likely that nobody will even notice.
And that’s awesome.”
So may we feel free today to live and create within this frame of mind. That we can try and fail and try and fail again without so much pressure. I would hate to wait until my 70’s to exercise what wisdom is readily available to me right now at the age of 23.