This is college graduation week around the country and I have a message to all those graduating –
Do not try to be Timothee Chalamet. That’s already being done.
And quite well.
I was reading a piece in Vulture the other day that he’s been cast as the young Bob Dylan in a biopic that centers on the moment in 1965 when the already-famed folk singer transitioned to superstardom legend by picking up an electric guitar at the Newport Music Festival and slaying an unsuspecting crowd.
Yes, Timothee Chalamet can sing.
And sing well.
That just sucks, right? Is there anything he can’t do?
Well, maybe he’s a jerk.
A dear friend of mine was at an event a few years ago and approached TM (Note: Even his initials personify relaxed ease.) for a selfie because her teenager daughter had a massive crush on him and the photograph would make her year.
Yes, he obliged.
But not only that, he impishly followed it with:
Let’s call her!
At which point, the number was dialed, he got on the phone and they had a fun, cool and sassy conversation.
What’s next? Well, he doesn’t have an Oscar. Yet.
That is if you don’t count the Oscar that was stolen from him for his utterly raw and original performance in Call Me By Your Name by Gary Oldman for his mumbly, blustery portrayal of some weird version of Winston Churchill in the somewhat forgettable The Darkest Hour.
But that’s only my opinion.
Which is really the point.
See, I recount all of this not to anoint TM as any kind of creative Messiah, modern day personal deity, or even an individual incapable of having a bad day and being a jerk.
I mean, given the demands of being an A-list actor, he likely is not ideal relationship material (Note: Don’t worry, I have no stories).
Instead, I merely bring it up to state that the only way to happiness and success is:
You do you.
It may sound snide and corny but, sadly, so are a lot of phrases that are… true.
Don’t worry about how well Timmy or any of your other more successful than you friends and peers are doing.
It’s not a race, despite all appearances to the contrary in everything you see, hear and read.
We Americans in particular, and I unfortunately count myself among them, can’t resist a good competition. And we loooooove a scoreboard. Because it means in those moments we are out in front, everyone else is a looooooooooser.
But if you subscribe to that kind of logic the reverse is true. You’re a loser the moment you’re not in the #1 position out in front.
Which, if you consider all of the categories in life under which you could be rated, is most of the time.
The real task now is what do you do with the time at hand? Well —
What do you like to do? What are you good at? Who do you want to be around? Who makes you laugh? What do you want to get better at? Who believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself? And —
Who is smarter, more talented or simply wiser than you?
Go find those people, in whatever form they are available to you, and figure out what you can learn from them. Ask them questions, if possible. Better yet, ask yourself questions and then try to figure out the answers.
And here’s a hint: You likely won’t find the answers sitting alone in your room.
No one, not anyone, does life alone. That’s not the way it works. You need a core group of those you can trust, learn from and be your nutty self with. That’s how you get ahead and that’s how you discover and hone your talents.
I was watching Rainn Wilson, the Emmy award nominated actor from The Office, being interviewed while promoting his Peacock documentary series, Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss.
Admitting he suffers from lifelong anxiety and depression that has taken him down some dark roads, the effort takes him around the world seeking to figure out the answer to happiness.
Spoiler alert: There is none.
But the one thing he noted that happy people have in common are that they are part of a community.
Yes, I rolled my eyes too. And I’m many decades past graduation. Until I realized that community doesn’t necessarily mean being a member of a church, community organization, political party or even your traditional family.
What it means is compiling your own group that helps to support you, advise you, tell you the truth, see you and yeah, love you.
Slow teardrop. (Note: Snide).
And know, none of this has to be said. You just feel it. (Note: Corny).
That’s the road to dealing with the world and achieving what you want. Which is not the necessarily the same thing as what you think it is right now.
Though it could be.
Yeah, you’re gonna make a ton of mistakes. You will hurt people you don’t mean to and be a real asshole to them and others at times.
Mistakes of all kinds are inevitable, messy and…welcome. Don’t beat yourself up for them.
Just do better.
Your crap and the crap will never end but neither does the good stuff. Focus on the latter and keep moving forward.
And please floss.