By Kate-Pride Muse
Twenty-three is a big number. When I was eight, I thought I’d have three kids by now. A fourth on the way. Now that I am twenty-three, I’ve found I’ve never felt younger. Childhood is overrated. Or at least it was for me. I spent the first half learning the basics. How to walk, tie my shoe, and ride a bike. The second half was all business. Constant planning; examining. Gathering information like chips on a poker table. Hording all the best advice and trying to emulate. Earnestly believing this was how I would lay the foundation for the life I wanted.
The funny – and slightly upsetting – lesson I’ve come to learn is that none of this means anything.
I came to New York with a lot of things, none of which being qualification. I didn’t know where Brooklyn was, or half of the people I was signing a lease with. All I knew was I wanted to make movies – in one capacity or another – and I wasn’t going to leave until I did so. Forty-three job applications and a lot of rejection letters later, I’ve seen my title change from unpaid intern to assistant to operations coordinator. That kid who got lost every time she took the train now gets asked for directions. I’d say I’m proud, but I don’t want you to think I’m conceited. What I do want is for you to know a secret. It’s really not that hard.
Now that I can say I’m a true adult (as I personally don’t count eighteen as the age of a real one), I’ve found the most important foundation for adulthood is understanding who adults are. A year out of college, I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to say. However, I do know two things for certain. Firstly, adults are just as confused as you and I are. The assistants, the coordinators…even the CEOs. Believe it or not, nobody’s got a clue. Which is great – because neither do I.
Having a five-year plan, a degree, or a fiancé doesn’t make you capable. It doesn’t make you know more than the intern you’re mentoring. And it sure doesn’t make you more qualified. What it does is give you is enough smoke and mirrors to convince the people below you that you’re supposed to be above them. Don’t let it fool you.
The second thing, and personally my favorite, is even the most esteemed adults are really pals. Neighbors, parents, kids. At some point, they’ve been benched. Let down. Not picked. There’s a vulnerability in all of us – no matter how much we try to hide it. At the end of each day, we all lay our heads on a pillow and fantasize about that crush from sophomore year. What if I’d just gone up to them? Maybe we would’ve gone out. We’re all still fifteen.
Each month has been a step closer to pulling back the veil. The more access I’m awarded, the more I’ve come to find that this life I’m living right now is actually pretty great. The scrappy nature of being young in New York is exhilarating.
I spent a lot of time lamenting not going to a prestigious film school. Having more hobbies. Honing a craft. Turns out it was wasted worry.
Being four steps ahead or three behind, you’re still on the path. Connections help, but desire surpasses. New York or Los Angeles or even high school isn’t as large as it looms in your mind. Tough, yes, but definitely doable. All you really need is a little gumption. The courage to bet on yourself.
That’s the real secret of adulthood. We are all capable of great things. And we are all equally terrified we won’t get them. All it really takes is a chance. Allowing yourself the freedom to be curious. In my limited experience, that’s just enough to get you where you were always meant to go.