A few weeks ago, I attended an event with Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, who was showing clips from her latest film, Midnight’s Children, based on the Salman Rushdie novel. At one point during the Q&A at Innis College, she advised the theatre packed with film students that a career in film is risky and scary but the rewards are worth it. She reiterated this later on, when relaying a story about some of the obstacles she faced shooting the film in Sri Lanka rather than India, where the tale takes place. It all worked out in the end, she said, because she’d been open to opportunities and possibilities that she’d never imagined. A twig of understanding amidst my anxiety.
Not long after that, I saw French-Israeli singer Yael Naïm in concert at The Great Hall. Stressed from the job hunting (and the lack of finding), I didn’t feel up to the task of going alone, and I certainly didn’t think I’d enjoy myself with all the distractions of that day. But there’s something utterly compelling about Yael’s voice and fairy-like demeanor, and once she started singing, I felt completely calm, sitting on the floor, surrounded by a room full of hipsters doing the same, yet not feeling like I was alone. And then she introduced the song “I Try Hard,” warning that you shouldn’t live in fear and close yourself off from people and experiences because you’re scared of the unknown or what’s different. Again, it was exactly what I needed to hear.
The last thing I’d ever want to do is fall into something simply because it’s safe or I’m afraid of the alternatives. Where I’m going, I’m not sure. But I do know that I don’t want to make decisions based on fear – decisions that will hold me back just because I don’t know where I want to go. Living life to the fullest means taking risks and being open to opportunities, shaking free of fear and doubt. It’s true, I do try hard. And so should you.