Too Old, or Giving Up Too Early?
Age, Anxiety and the Entertainment Industry
There is a basic formula we’re all taught growing up. The formula to being happy, healthy, stable, and successful. The formula seems pretty simply to follow, you work hard, earn money, save enough to retire, create stability, so you can live your dreams, and in essence have a happy life. But for some of us, this formula isn’t so clear cut. What if following your dreams provides errored data? What if working hard isn’t enough to retire? How can one formula work for a diverse range of people, and what happens when you break away from this?
Making it in the entertainment industry is hard, we know it, I know it. It’s a career filled with constant rejection, and knock backs until that one break. You’re working your ass off to build a network, to work on the right projects, be heard/seen by the right people. It’s never a guarantee, but if you can get that foot in the door, it will open up your opportunities just that little bit.
One thing weighing on my mind about life and this basic formula is the big 3 0. Yep, no doubt about it, the time is near and I’m about to turn 30! I wouldn’t say I’m afraid exactly, but I am definitely aware of the passage of time. With social media ruling our lives, and viral posts flooding our screens, fame is younger. It’s not hard to notice that the emerging pop star or the spunky little actress all have baby faces. The allure of youth that makes talent more desirable.
So, am I too old? Are they more talented? Or are we just in awe?
You hear it all the time, the entertainment industry has an age limit to achieve success. With stars getting younger what is the age limit? 20, 30, 40? If fame is getting younger how do we break through and reach success later in life. I’ve only now learnt who I am, and what kind of artist I want to be, but now that I’m reaching thirty is it all too late? Maybe I should just give up and default back to that basic formula. Have kids and get them to start young. At what point in our pursuit of the creative arts do we throw in the towel? And when it comes down to it, is it a matter of age, or is it a matter of will?
I’ve recently jumped onto the podcast bandwagon and have been listening to some amazing interviews of actors and entertainers. There is a handful out there that have found success at a later age. The one thing I’ve noticed they all have in common is diligence. Despite the knock backs they just kept going, and pursuing what they loved, and eventually they got that foot in the door.
Hearing the stories of Ellen Degenerous, Oliva Coleman, Allen Rickman, and so many more, it’s always the same. They worked hard, built their craft, made themselves the best they can be, and just kept going. This makes me wonder, is there really an age limit? Or do our social preconceptions of life, stability, and success cause us to give up too early. The fear of not succeeding, and not being able to support one’s self stops us from living out our dreams.
When you compound social expectations of a stable life, building your dream, and also let's throw in some anxiety and depression, this becomes a challenging mix. I love my art and am miserable without it, yet the anxiety of self-promotion, social media, and fear of not being good enough creates barriers I have to overcome. All I want is simply to make my art form into a business, which gives me the modest living I desire. I wasn’t prepared for the complications of going against the basic formula, I honestly don’t think a lot of people were either.
Having anxiety and depression has a big effect on my life and my creativity. The fear of failing, fear of not being good enough has always held me back. Yes, this is something everyone faces, but for people with anxiety and depression the lows tend to be even lower. It’s like you're falling down that rabbit hole with Alice, then drowning in the room of her tears. It would seem easier to give up, but then you’re faced with the depression of not following your dreams, and thinking you gave up too easily. It’s a mass of contradiction and over thinking that you would think Vulcan logic can overcome, but it’s easier said than done. Turn around the next day, you suddenly have this renewed sense of motivation like you can tackle the world and you’re a superhuman.
As I grow older, I learn more on how to handle my anxiety and be more creatively productive with it. I try to have a new point of view on my art, I try to research and better myself, try and figure out how to make my dream a reality. Being like those that found success later in life; diligent. In the end, I am simply trying to find my own formula of being happy, healthy, stable, and successful.
Because what they don’t tell you is that you have to find what works for you. Maybe they don’t tell you this because you have to figure it out on your own.