An open letter to late bloomers everywhere:
Do you ever lie awake at night wondering if you’ll ever reach your goals, fearing like it might be too late for you now? Are you impatiently waiting to catch your big break or finally find your true love? Do you beat yourself up when things don’t go the way you planned? Or for having to try harder than everyone else just to catch up?
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably feeling lost, confused, and frustrated with yourself right now. You probably know all about what it’s like to feel like you’re falling behind in life and always missing out, watching helplessly from the sidelines as everyone around you falls in love, graduates top of the class, lands their dream job, and starts a family – all while making it look easy.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone in feeling that way. But being a late bloomer isn’t the worst thing in the world to be. No, not by a long shot. In fact, American poet Sharon Olds said it best when said, “Anyone who gest to bloom at all is very lucky indeed.” And she’s not wrong. Because by spending so much of our time and energy constantly rushing through life, pushing ourselves to move one mountain after another just because we’re so afraid of being the last one to the finish line, we lose sight of where we are in the present moment and take it all for granted.
I’m a late bloomer myself, and I tend to worry a lot about the future. I always feel like if I don’t have everything planned out, then I’m never going to find success or be happy. But as I get older, I find that the opposite is actually true. The incredibly high standards and expectations I set for myself, not to mention the very little and unrealistic time frame I told myself I had to achieve them, were actually holding me back from realizing my full potential.
Because sometimes, the people with the greatest potential take the longest to find the right path. They’re so afraid of failure that they don’t let themselves venture out into the unknown. They don’t let themselves make mistakes, try new things, and explore all their options because they think that there’s only one way to live a good life – by doing it the same way as everyone else.
But some of the most successful, most celebrated icons in all of history were late bloomers. From Soichiro Honda and Vera Wang, to Julia Child and Stan Lee, to Albert Einstein and Nelson Mandela, all of them went on to accomplish great things late in their lives and prove that there is no deadline for pursuing yourpassion and making your dreams come true.
So what if you just started school? Or still live in your parents’ house? So what if you’re still single and searching for love? Or waiting to be accepted at your first job? The truth is, even if you have your life completely mapped out, there’s always going to come a time somewhere down the line when the rug gets pulled out from under your feet. What matters most is that your grit, resilience, and determination to go on in spite of every hurdle and setback.Because life is always moving forward, and so should you.
After all, it’s not about who gets to the finish line first. You don’t need to compete with other people your age or have everything all figured out by now. Because that kind of mindset is only going to make us all opportunistic, self-centered, and deeply unsatisfied with our lives. So don’t pressure yourself so much to do more than you’re comfortable with, to hit milestones just for the sake of hitting them. Don’t put yourself in a situation you’re not ready to be in, but instead, be grateful for how much beautiful time you still have on your hands and forget about wherever it is you feel like you need to be in your life right now.