I sat in my car on the way to work. I was on one of the busiest commuter roads in the city and traffic had been inching along for the past ten minutes. I could see I was going to be late. As a perpetually punctual person (Like, ten to fifteen minutes early without fail) this was the sort of thing that I would normally be really bothered by. I'd already called my manager and let them know about the traffic, but usually even my high level of responsibility didn't stop me from fretting that my punctual reputation might be on the line.
So why wasn't it bothering me on this particular day? Because on this particular day my life was a hot mess. For those of you unfamiliar the term 'Hot Mess' generally means everything that could possibly go wrong was, had and did do. Being late wasn't even icing on the cake at this point. Being late was edible glitter on little sugar flowers on butter icing on fondant on the cake - only the cake had been dropped on the floor.
I had planned out my life quite neatly. I knew who I was gonna marry, where I was gonna live, who my friends were, what my job was, what job I was making for myself and where I would be in the next five, ten, fifteen and possibly even twenty years. You know that silly cliche 'Don't count your chicken's until they're hatched'? My chickens were counted, lined up and categorized for years to come and the Universe didn't like it.
The Universe was all, "You think you've got it all sorted, don't you? Well, reality check - life is change, change is constant, nothing is forever and you're not a fourtune teller."
In short, as I sat there stuck in traffic travelling to a job I was resistant to working, every single aspect of my life as I'd planned it out was falling apart. Six weeks before the wedding I found out my fiance didn't want to marry me and had cheated on me with someone I thought was my friend and consequently all of our mutual friends were showing their 'true colours' and the house that I lived in was no longer a safe place and the job I'd wanted was no longer what I wanted and so a little bad traffic was piddly squat to me.
So I'm sitting there in my car listening to the radio and thinking about what an utter catastrophe my life has become when this fauxpunk boyband comes on. Like a cross between Back Street Boys and NOFX - like when punk is manufactured and prettified.
Not known for having poignant lyrics but none-the-less, it's a catchy song. Only today I hate it. I hate it because the primary lyrics are 'It's never too late' and I'm busy wallowing, like absolutely, completely and utterly, wallowing in my own self pity. I'm dripping with 'poor me' and all I can think is these stupid little fauxpunk boys don't know what it's like to have your heart ripped out of your chest and kicked around my people you thought you could love and trust. What could they possibly know about my suffering?
So I turn it off and I creep along to work and I distract myself by trying not to think about how nothing I thought I knew is real or true anymore. But those stupid lyrics keep coming back because damn, it is one catchy song. Seriously. It's right up there with 'Hey Yeah' or 'Mr. Brightside'. And the more I think about it the more something begins to change in my way of thinking. Because it's catchy and it's simple the lyrics are easy to remember and as a whole, as simple as it is, the song has got a good point.
At the time of this entire experience I was twenty-three. I know there are a lot of people reading this thinking, "Seriously? Only twenty-three and you thought your life was over? Pfft!"
And you're right. It's ridiculous. I know that now. Just like I know a heckuvalot of other stuff that I didn't know before my entire life was pulled out from under me. I now know that life is totally what you make it and it's up to you to decide what you're going to do with the time you have. Which means giving up on life at twenty-three, or thirty-three, or even fifty- or sixty-three is a bit ridiculous. And yet, I hear people say it all the time.
I hear people say, "It's too late for me to do *insert dream, desire, idea* here."
Arguably, I was only twenty-three when I learned the valuable lesson that it's never too late so it's easy to go, "Well, yes, but you were young."
I was young, but the key word is 'never'. It's never too late. Ever. Even if you want to be an Olympic athlete, you can still do it in your fifties if you decide to take up curling, for example. Ultimately, if you decide it's too late, what you've really decided is it's too hard. And trust me, it is really, really hard to accept that living your life is totally down to you. It was so much easier when I could blame my ex or my job or my income for why I couldn't live the life I love. Admitting that making life awesome was always going to be up to me meant growing up - big time.
But I did it. And three years on I'm living in a place I never thought I'd even get to visit and doing a job I never dreamed was possible and creating things I only ever imagined and married to someone I didn't think existed.
So no, it's never too late.