This generation is so precocious we start having midlife crises at 24. At age 24, no longer considered to be in your early twenties, and not yet a millionaire startup founder or a famous star, a personal crises ensues. Social media is there to prove that EVERYONE, except you, is excelling in life. Everyone is buying a house, getting engaged to the love of their life, making babies, traveling the world, founding companies, all of that all at once, all of that while exhibiting a perfect body shape, because why not. And it looks so easy, right? I mean, how hard can it be? Getting your life together?
But think about the best books you’ve ever read.
Cheryl Strayed was a hot mess. So in order to fix her own life she just has this “brilliant” idea to hike the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself. Carrying a stupid heavy backpack. ALL ALONE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. All in the name of self-discovery. Does that sound terrifying to you? It sounds desperately terrifying to me because I happen to have watched too many crime documentaries at this point to even consider doing something like that. She was in her mid twenties. She was desperate and alone. As I was read the book I remember getting so frustrated at her. I couldn’t understand why she was putting herself through all of that. What was the point? Was it all worth it? Does it really take hiking an entire trail on your own, risking your own life in order to have some sort of epiphany and figure your life out?
It was only after finishing the book that I was able to understand how the simple act of following through with a promise to herself was exactly what she needed in order to heal. She had to go through all of that to regain trust and faith in herself and to finally become the person she was meant to be.
Elizabeth Gilbert. 34 years old. Suddenly realises the life she was living was sort of killing her slowly. Married, living in a big fancy house, she felt trapped and guess what? That’s right. Desperately alone. She sets that old life on fire, goes on a sabbatical year around the world, eats tons of food in Italy, does a lot of yoga in India, ties it all up falling in love with this amazing guy in Bali. I mean, come on. She then writes a best selling book and bam, her whole life is changed.
Glennon Doyle was an addict and a bulimic for most of her life. In her mid-twenties she finds out she’s pregnant. They get married, and she fights hard for her struggling marriage. She writes a book about overcoming all that hardship, only to find out her husband has been cheating on her throughout pretty much the entirety of their marriage. She meets a woman, falls in love, breaks her family apart before mending things and finding overwhelming success.
Do these people make your life feel slightly boring? If so, congratulations! You’re definitely doing something right. Anyways, my favourite story is about Julia Child.
Julia lived in a pre internet world, so she had room to find herself without the pressure to showcase it to the world. In fact, it took her years to find her purpose. But she never lost her spirit. She didn’t discover her life passion until she turned 36. Before becoming a famous tv personality she faced quite a lot of failures: she failed her first cooking exam from Le Cordon Bleu, her book faced a lot of rejection before it was published, she even tried to develop a shark repellent? That didn’t work out, by the way. She followed her husband around the world for his job, worked a bunch of different jobs herself, all before becoming the Julia Child everyone knows.
She never lost her resolve. She was in love, finding herself in Paris, in her late 30s.
All these women have one thing in common: they have made an impact in the world. Their lives didn’t follow a pattern, and if things had gone exactly to plan they would have probably led some very ordinary lives. That’s completely fine, but when you look back, the most extraordinary stories are the ones that are full of ups and downs, full of overcoming adversity and obstacles. The stories worth reading and talking about are the ones whose people forged their own path. And those things take years. They take a lifetime. And that’s okay. It was never about the destination; it has always been about the journey.
Miley Cyrus once wisely said, it ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.
It’s about the climb. And no matter how long it takes, it’s never too late.