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@example.com. 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,