Late Registration

January 4, 2009 § 5 Comments

late-bloomerAs we slip into a new year, we flip out our journals or kindly note to ourselves and our friends what we will do better this year. A new five-year plan becomes a Constitution that cannot be amended. And if we don’t live up to our dreams in the year we’ve outlined for ourselves, we sulk and in worst case scenarios we give up on all of them. We live in a society that registers a successful life based upon instant gratification. What about throwing away the timelines and just living? Is it really such a terrible thing to be a “late bloomer?”

I was talking with a friend the other day and something she said hit me. “Am I pursuing a fool’s dream?” she asked. I wanted to tell her a fool is someone who doesn’t dare to dream for fear of failing. The only reason I didn’t was because I know when I’m feeling blue the last thing I want to hear is something scripted out of an after school special. The friend in question is a talented writer on the cusp of completing a novel. Her conundrum is that she recently hit a crossroads and fears she may be unable to finish her novel within the timeline she set for herself. When she realized she might not finish her book, she thought about the other things she hadn’t accomplished in her life. “I feel old. I’m almost 25 and still nothing. What have I accomplished?” she asked.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard about the inner-workings of a self-declared quarter-life crisis. Self-doubt and fear has at times clouded my own judgment, leaving me to miss out on a lot of wonderful opportunities and people. In the past, fleshing out timelines for myself has left me feeling tinges of failure when I’ve noticed that certain things have yet to transpire. When will I ever [insert feeling here]? What if I never [insert action here]? Why do we allow age and timelines to dictate how we feel about ourselves, our capabilities, and what we can accomplish now and in the future?

Late bloomers, lend me your ears! Don’t let society and inner negativity stop you from making your dreams a reality. There are many people out there who have accomplished extraordinary things in what many would consider “late in life.” A few months ago, I read “Late Bloomers,” an interesting piece from The New Yorker that shed some light on the question of whether precocity in terms of creativity is the be all, end all for artists. Do late bloomers stand a chance in creative pursuits in a sea filled with prodigies? In the article, Malcolm Gladwell references several people who hit the mark in their careers late in the game. Two of my favorites he mentioned, Alfred Hitchcock, who made some of his masterpieces, including my personal favorites North by Northwest and Vertigo between his 44th and 61st birthdays and Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe at 58. There are probably many others who are unknown to us but have done amazing things when others thought their time was over. There’s something to be said about exploring and truly living life before we find what we’re truly looking for and create masterpieces in our own lives. Whether your dream is big or minuscule, writing a future classic, finding a job you love, meeting your soulmate or anything else under the sun, time is not your enemy.

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