I just read this article on Indie Wire about female directors who start their careers after age 40. As a 28-year-old woman making art myself, I found it refreshing and inspiring. There’s so much pressure to “succeed” in your career by the end of your 20s, and to be the “hot new thing.” Being at the beginning at an older age seems terrifying, but actually makes a lot of sense.
My mom started painting in her 40s. I was about to graduate high school, with my sister not far behind. She had already raised her children and worked for twenty years in education. She was able to use her many experiences to inform her art, and could allow herself to give her painting the energy and time it needed. We had many conversations about our artistic lives, being basically in the same place at the same time, she in her 40s and 50s and me in my twenties. My mom often talked about how grateful she was that she didn’t have to make the decisions I was facing: about having a family versus making art, romance versus making art, etc. She was past all that. She was starting a new artistic life with the enthusiasm of a twenty-year-old, but with the confidence of someone who has lived several lives already.
Of course I sort of wish I had a book published already, or a comic strip in syndication, or a film at a festival, or that I was a full-time artist supporting myself financially on my art. However, if that were true, I probably wouldn’t be working at Images Cinema where I am learning things and having experiences that will inform my art in ways I don’t even understand yet.
There is no set timeline for anyone’s career, whether it’s filmmaking or something else. Life is short, but it’s also long, and you get where you get to at the right time simply because that’s when you get there.