“If I want to go abroad to get a master’s degree?”
A girl from the class I lectured today asked.
I know that question. I’ve asked that question when I was her age, when I started working, and when I felt my soul was being ripped apart by the work I did.
“Most of us aren’t Steve Jobs, aren’t Bill Gates, we don’t know how to answer questions like this from the get go.” I said, “It’s more a process. I remember I read Man’s Search for Meaning, The Alchemist, when I was your age. I read memoirs, biographies ferociously because I thought I could find some pattern, some shortcut there from the lives already lived and proved. But in the end, you can’t calculate your 100th step when you barely have your step. Sure you will make mistakes, but that’s part life, part living, part growing. Media advocates overnight success, but we both know that it takes years to be an overnight sensation. And even if you thought that you found what you wanted to do for the rest of your life, sometimes you still get lost, get confused, get frustrated, wondering whether it was the right path that you took given the growing sunk cost…”
Some students drifted away already. Only a handful were still with me. I said that I didn’t know what to do with my expensive education for a while, whether I should ditch it and start something else… But I’m glad I didn’t quit. It’s only the dip.
Later I told my professor friend who invited me to her college that the students might be able to understand what we discussed today years later, or maybe not. But maybe it may benefit them. There is a huge chasm between knowledge and practice.
Just like when I disappeared for the last two days from my daily blog to finish the third short film in time, I realized that no matter how much I wanted to impress the director, I had to give him something to begin our polishing process.
And by now, I have a fourth short film to finish by end of tomorrow which I haven’t started yet, because I was out all day today in Songjiang, because I didn’t arrive home until 11 pm, and because the fourth director and I didn’t confirm until this morning.
Right after the fourth short film, I will immediately start working on the animation feature as well as preparing the notes for another feature rewrite which I already did the first pass.
“It takes 10,000 hours to become a master in anything.” I quoted Malcolm Gladwell as I kept on going with my answer. I told them how lucky they are to choose this path at this age. If they persist, by the time they are my age, they’d experts.
I used to get frustrated when I read Wiki entry of a famous person whose work I admired and who started early. Now, after the emotional move back to Shanghai, I’ve learned that everyone has her own time.
Like when Mulan’s dad pointed to his daughter, ‘The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.‘
I would like to think that I’m one of those late bloomers.