Too Late

I’m writing this post because I’m procrastinating on my current copywriting assignment.

This is the current state of my affairs: I do productive things to put off other productive things. That isn’t a humble brag—I’m not that disciplined. I’m just that busy. And sleep is a necessary thing, apparently. (I keep trying to pretend it isn’t, which is why I’m currently sick for the third time in a year.)

I can’t tell you what’s good on TV right now. The last time I went to the movie theatre was to see Infinity War in May. My cousin has been asking me when I’m going to visit next since the beginning of the summer, and I haven’t made the trip yet.

But.

I feel sorry for myself for exactly none of these things. Except for the having a cold part, but who isn’t a little bit miserable when they’re sick? My work-life balance is a little bit off right now, but it’s okay. Because I’m #inthemidst (see what I did there) of rewriting the narrative I started telling myself after college, after my singularly unhelpful advisor didn’t tell me that an English degree is worth very little without accompanying internships, after I learned that even entry-level jobs require previous experience these days: that it’s too late.

Too late to be considered for the type of position that would actually excite me, instead of boring me to death and encouraging my belief in my uselessness; too late to find a job that pays enough to let me work normal hours and still live on my own; too late to learn new skills and increase my marketability.

It’s been a long, slow process, and I’m still in it—still working 65+ hours a week, still terrified of how much havoc my next series of car repairs is going to wreak on my bank account, still very carefully balancing needs versus wants to keep my time and money budgets in check. But every step has been a worthwhile one, because they’ve all moved me that much farther away from the trap of “too late.” It’s self-fulfilling prophecy: when I believed my situation was hopeless, it was.

When I grew up enough to stop wallowing in self-pity and millennial angst, I realized I was making life harder for myself than I needed to. When I started looking for opportunities and being open to jobs that didn’t look exactly like my dream position, I found chances to grow and expand on my skills while learning new ones. I met people who connected me to future employers I never would have rubbed shoulders with otherwise.

The more I push back on “too late” in terms of employment, the more I realize how many other areas of my life I was giving that idea control over. Friendships, relationships, self-improvement. And so on. It’s too late to recover from that fight, it’s too late to find a significant other, it’s too late to be a happy, friendly, welcoming person. So it goes. Except it’s all a lie. Every breath is a second chance.

I work a lot, yes. But my life has never been as full of meaningful interactions or memorable experiences as it is now. It’s exciting, to live in a space where anything is possible. Also, it turns out, there are a lot of ways to have fun for free.

Added bonus: I finally don’t feel embarrassed when my extended family asks me what I’m doing for work these days.

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