The Bad News About It's Never Too Late

It’s never too late to start living into your passion. That’s what they tell me. We are seeing it more and more, and for a plethora of factors that are far beyond my ability to explain here…longer life span, globalization, uncertainty, late careers, and most currently relevant, struggling economies. It is everywhere. People are losing their jobs and being forced to reconsider, revamp and recalibrate their career paths, and if they are lucky enough, reconnect with their passion. According to English novelist George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

And well, this is all fine and dandy. I, too, imagine a world where everyone is doing exactly what they were placed on this earth to do. I, too, long to hit my stride, run on all cylinders, have work feel like play and do the things that make me feel most alive and bring me the deepest meaning. But take it from one who has been journeying down this path for a little while now, it is harder than you might think. There is a reason why you never did this before. Probably several. And they are all still glaring at you, staring you down, daring you to do something different than what you’ve always done.

This is the bad news about starting late. According to Robin Black in her article “Never Too Late” featured in the O Magazine, "In those of us whose professional accomplishments didn’t come with youth, there is often an ancient well of insecurity – a reservoir of fear deep enough to have kept us from pursuing our dream careers in the first place.” Let’s face it. We were disconnected from ourselves, out of touch with our desires, living our lives under the weighty responsibilities of life, the should’s and ought-to’s and well, too ____ (fill in the blank) scared, insecure, pragmatic, approval-seeking, perfectionistic, etc… OR perhaps it’s not that we were disconnected from our desires, but our desires have changed and life has changed and we have changed, and thus we are looking at the prospect of reinvention with fear and trembling. And that is exactly what this kind of upheaval elicits. Fear.

Do one brave thing a day
. This is the motto of my good friend and running partner and one that I embrace wholeheartedly and live by. For courage is exactly what is called for. For not only do we have to face the challenges of coming to this late in the game, but we also have to confront some powerful old inner demons. I have found this to be true in my own life. Not only am I battling my own naivety and inexperience, not ever having done this before, but I battle my own fears, anxieties, and insecurities that have kept me paralyzed for so long. The upside to this so-called "bad news" is this: although facing our fears is an arduous task, ridding ourselves of debilitating inhibitions cannot be anything but good. Which brings me back to Robin Black’s advice…DO IT. Whatever it is. However silly or risky, trite or monumental. Just do it. Do one brave thing a day.

2 comments

  • Tiffany
    Tiffany
    Jessica, this is absolutely beautiful, and brave. This completely resonates with me. In fact, I often think of you as encouagement for one who has done the stay-at-home mom thing and put her passions on hold. I am just now realizing how much of my identity has been lost in motherhood and how I need to fight to get it back. Thanks for the hope.

    Jessica, this is absolutely beautiful, and brave. This completely resonates with me. In fact, I often think of you as encouagement for one who has done the stay-at-home mom thing and put her passions on hold. I am just now realizing how much of my identity has been lost in motherhood and how I need to fight to get it back. Thanks for the hope.

  • Kelly Carpenter
    Kelly Carpenter
    Hi Jess, As you know, I totally relate to your fear and anxiety since I'm doing the same thing. Waking up at 2AM in the morning in a panic over how I am I going to pull this off is no fun. Yes, unfortunately, our wisdom informs our fear. Oh, to be young and stupid once again! If only. However, the story arc of your life has always included this chapter, and it required all of the chapters that went before it. So now is your time to do this. Rock on!

    Hi Jess, As you know, I totally relate to your fear and anxiety since I'm doing the same thing. Waking up at 2AM in the morning in a panic over how I am I going to pull this off is no fun. Yes, unfortunately, our wisdom informs our fear. Oh, to be young and stupid once again! If only. However, the story arc of your life has always included this chapter, and it required all of the chapters that went before it. So now is your time to do this.

    Rock on!

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