I think this one piece of advice I’ve gotten, in regards to my interwoven career and personal goals at least, has stuck with me the most. I was fortunate enough to go to a Q&A screening of Another Earth with Brit Marling and Mike Cahill right when the movie was coming out in 2011, and I got up the nerve to ask them about their process in making and producing a movie like that. A little budget, little resources, little time, but an amazing story.
Brit was so kind and wise, and imparted on me the same advice she did for the Georgetown graduates this year: “Don’t wait for permission.” Her version to me was a little zestier (“Fuck everyone and do what you want. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission.”), but the message is crucial. It’s essential for this generation specifically, and it’s one I hope to continue to carry on.
In her speech, she talks about our world right now being so saturated with meaning. An overabundance of possibility to make your own something. I have seen so many people come up with something new, push themselves, and make it. No time flat. They have the idea, they execute it, it’s made. That is our world today. No matter how we complain about the unemployment, the lack of privacy, the economy, the “me” of it all, fuck us for not always truly appreciating the power of immediate productivity and creativity we have today.
I know it’s impossible to keep that mindset, to retain an honest thankfulness for the time we’re in. It’s equal parts terrible and amazing. For every masterpiece of expression someone makes, someone else comes up with something to destroy it. Or other people, or another place. Our world right now is cruel and divisive, but so full of promise and possibility to make something.
Those are the people that matter, the ones who make something. The ones who don’t wait for others to give them the green light. What they make isn’t always beautiful or perfect or beneficial for everyone, but they have created something unique and their own. That used to take a great amount of time and effort, but the society we live in now has ripple effects being caused everywhere. I can only hope any ripple that I choose to create can awaken that in someone else. Look to inspire, to show someone it’s possible, to reap the reward of your own innovation and creativity.
“Fuck everyone and do what you want. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission.”