At conventions and elsewhere, I’ve always said…

At conventions and elsewhere, I’ve always said that if there’s anything at all to be learned from me — and I’m not entirely sure there is, but let’s make that assumption now just for the hell of it — it’s that if you hold onto your dreams, if you follow your passions, it doesn’t matter where you come from, or what school you went to, or how old you are, you can do it. It’s possible. That’s the lesson. Not that you will, but that it’s possible. Which is all most of us ever really need to know, to strive for what we want, what we believe in.

Example: a friend of mine from college spent 25 years of her life working in a cubicle for a faceless master on a distant mountaintop. There was very little of her in the work, and she called one day to say what am I doing it for? I’ve never done anything I wanted to do and it’s too late now. Nonsense, I told her. What do you want to do, what are you passionate about? She didn’t know. I asked what she likes doing. I like my cat, all pets, she said, and I like taking photos, but I’m not a pro.

“So combine what you enjoy. Start taking pictures of pets. For free to start, then for money. Point is, follow what gives you joy.”

She did. And now she works three days for the faceless master, and two days a week doing what she enjoys, and making a living at it. Within the next year, if she keeps it up, she’ll be working full time at what she loves.

Follow your passion. The rest will attend to itself.