Drake said, “Better late than never, but never late is better.”
I’m 41 and while people over 55 probably see me as young, I feel old. This is evident when I think about becoming a romance writer. Sometimes, I feel like I’m too late and that the dream doesn’t suit my reality. This feeling usually ebbs and flows, depending on the day. Some days, I confidently pursue my dream then out of nowhere, I’m smacked with the debilitating feeling that I’ve missed my chance–that the world is faster and wiser and I can’t keep up. Pivot. Create a fresh set of life experiences. Live the life I’ve always imagined.
Then I think about the years I spent working towards consistent and sustainable mental health and realize that had I pursued my dream on someone else’s timeline, I would’ve missed out on the internal growth that means more than any external success. But I go back and forth on this–on one hand, I’m grateful for my mental health and on the other, I feel like I’m too late to reimagine my life. Believe me, I know how it must sound but it doesn’t make it any less true. I’m finding that the challenge of executing a life-pivot hinges on self-acceptance and the ability to stay in my lane, ignoring what other people are doing.
Sounds good BUT how do I stay in my lane and ignore those speeding past, arriving at their destinations before I see my own exit? How do I remain positive about doing what I love, trusting that my gift will make room for me? How do I move past the fear of trying to break into a saturated market, creating a voice that will cut through the noise? How do I write my romance novel without comparing myself to those who have come before me?
These questions take turns popping up throughout my day. They find their way into my subconscious, eating away at my self-assurance, creating moments of self-doubt. But when I offer myself some perspective, I realize that I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t fear living their truth. Who doesn’t fear following their heart into the unknown. Who isn’t anxious about pursuing the thing that makes sense.
“Better late than never, but never late is better.” We’re. Never. Late. No matter when we decide to move toward our dreams. Timelines are bullshit and journeys are unique to who we are. Yay to the person who had their shit figured out at 25. And Yay to the person who had their shit figured out at 35, 45 or 75.
George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” This quote is a gentle reminder that if you’re still alive, you have time to do whatever the fuck you want. Even if that means becoming a romance writer at 41-years-old. Offer yourself some grace. You’re not too late. If you listen to and trust your heart, then you are and will always be right on time.