Am I a Late Bloomer?
For the first time in my life I feel like a late bloomer. While some people I grew up with are having children and getting married (in that order), or excelling in careers they began straight out of college, I'm just beginning to feel comfortable in my adulthood. Even though I'm 27 years-old I've yet to do unmistakably adult things like buy a car, plan a vacation...or solidify my place in the work force.
Growing up I was always told how mature I look. Everyone from the school lunch lady, my parents' friends, my friends’ parents, to teachers would comment on my pristine posture, or the way I carried myself or my serious demeanor. Because my birthday falls at the end of the year I started school (kindergarten) later than students my exact age. As a result I was among the first in my friend group to start my menstrual cycle, grow breasts, become sexual, begin driving, etcetera. Being ahead of the curve was a pattern I'd grown used to. Not only was I older in age and experience but I felt less clingy, needy, and generally less emotional than my peers. I always had a more practical approach to everything.
Now that I'm closer than ever to 30 I'm feeling pressure to reach certain milestones. Some of the pressure I place on myself, but I know what I’m feeling is mostly socially-driven. A prime example of this socialization is Forbes magazine’s recently published annual self-made richest ranking women list, this time with two-decades-old Kylie Jenner on the cover. The headline touted her as being on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire, sending a wave of people up in arms over the sheer inaccuracy of the description.
“I’m constantly reiterating to myself that we’re all on different journeys.”
Mass messages like this promote an unrealistic expectation that in the age of social media and technology becoming successful and affluent in your twenties (or even thirties) is an easy feat. It’s not. Figuring out what you want to do in this world and how to best execute that is challenging, especially in an ever-changing economic climate. Doing it alone is nearly impossible. It takes mentors, emotional and financial support, opportunities.
I’m grateful that I have a strong family support system and safety net. I don’t ask them for money but it’s nice to know that if my world came tumbling down I could. While my parents worry about the fact that I’ve chosen an unconventional path over their blueprint, I know they will always have my back. I’m grateful that I have successful godparents whose council I can seek. I don’t take these things for granted.
In his Forbes rebuttal posted on Man Repellar, freelance writer Phillip Ellis states, “If you haven’t found success at an early age, it’s not necessarily because you lack talent or ambition. It’s perfectly okay to be working a job that doesn’t feel like your [reason for existing]. You have bills to pay, after all; there is no single right way to be in the working world. And it’s absolutely fine if your passion is something that takes place entirely outside of the workplace and stays there.”
I’m working to reverse the effects of our conditioning. I’m constantly reiterating to myself that we’re all on different journeys and everyone moves at their own pace. I’m reaching my goals one at a time, moving at my own tempo, making sure not to be stagnant. There’s no right or wrong time to accomplish my dreams, no such concept of “too late” or being “too old”. I find incredible peace in these affirmations. Volatile feelings aside, I’m in bloom and I’m flourishing right on schedule.