A hoody in your forties? That’s brave! – By @WeR4everPpl

By Sean Grace


A hoody in your forties? That’s brave!

I remember in the interview call when Marc told me he admired me for starting a new career in my mid-forties as it was brave. I shrugged it off saying I really didn’t feel I had a choice. Perhaps if I’d left myself space to think I had a choice, I might not have found the courage to make this one. Now I realise the bravery wasn’t the decision to apply. The brave part is the doing.
People who are ill are brave, for themselves and more so for those around them. And when you care for someone you love, as many of us will at some points in our life, it can feel like every day you have to be intentionally brave. You are aware of it, that bravery, bubbling away, in the background, in the knowledge that if you weren’t brave, how would your loved one cope? 
Then there are days you simply can’t do it. The times it is just too hard to watch someone you love suffer. These are tinged with unease and uselessness; the cognitive dissonance of a carer who feels they’re not caring. This is soon chased away by duty and love, you brave it our for each other. 
Society defines classic moments in which we will need to dig deep. Times of grief, loss, heartbreak. Moments that shake the foundations of who we think we are. When we lose the job we love, or our partner of 21 years walks out on us. But there are other times, less desperate, less obvious, more hopeful, no less important. It’s good to spot and reflect on them.
So for me… 
Being on the course at SCA is brave. 
Doing this for no-one else but myself is brave. 
Paying for it with inheritance, instead of buying a house, where I come from, is brave. 
Walking into a room full of people half my age, every day, is brave. 
Seeing awards for “young” not “new” talent and saying my voice has value is brave. 
Wearing a hoody after 40, after telling your best friend for years he’s too old to wear one, is brave. 
Leaving my ego and age-related entitlement at the door is brave.
Seeing people, younger than me, with their shit together, more than me, is brave. 
Accepting my age and sexuality will be marmite to some in the industry, and saying that’s a good thing, is brave. 
Saying I’m struggling today and asking for help is brave. 
Being never too old to stop learning is brave.
Writing this scab is brave.
Being brave for yourself is a much less familiar sensation than doing it for someone else.
If it’s just you, a lot of the time in life you can think ‘meh’ and ‘pass’ and choose not to be. No reflection to remind you who all this bravery is for. No reminder that the bravery needed to follow your own path is just as necessary and unavoidable. Fail to remind yourself how brave you are to put yourself though all this, and it can slip you by that you’re even doing it. It’s easy to forget to nurture the beneficiary of all this bravery, when it’s you.
Somewhere on the way, on this mad, fabulous road to adland, I made a choice. To be brave. For myself. 
And I chose well. 
Throughout this course and for the rest of my career, I will need to be brave. Brave to say ‘yes and’ and sometimes, as Rosie Arnold tells us, brave enough to say ‘no’. 
For a moment I just forgot that. I forgot I said I would be brave because I got scared. And that fear made me stop checking in with myself. And I reached out to Marc, and he reminded me I was brave. 
Over the last days we talked about some issues facing us as we enter the world of advertising. There will be times in all our careers when we may be challenged in ways we didn’t expect and that may rock and surprise us. In that moment recall that when you are brave you can change the world around you. Reach out to someone you trust. 
And remember that you are brave.  

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