Someone once told me, “that time has passed”. Immediately, I wondered, had I missed the boat? Had my perpetually late, unfocused self waited too long? For years this comment repeated over and over again in my head. It sometimes kept me up at night with an overwhelming feeling of dread that I had lost my opportunity to become someone, something, anything. Then, like a bottle of fine wine, these words mellowed with time and became a delight to consider. There is no such thing as being “too late to the show”. Like that bottle of wine, I am far more complex than just an opening act. I am many acts, episodes, and likely, a few intermissions. And that, is precisely who I want to be.
Over my lifetime, I’ve heard many iterations of this difficult to identify dig. “That window has closed”, “Too little, too late”, “It’s too late to start over now”. These words had a unique ability to trigger my obsession with obsessing. They didn’t hurt, like some of the other pearls of wisdom I’ve received. They just gave me just enough to sink endless time deposits into their account. You know those lovely little passive-aggressive dings that you could dwell on for, oh I don’t know, decades.
Like all well-wishers, I believe those crossing my path with these words thought they were motivating me. But instead, these words paralyzed me. I spent so much time trying to figure out what and how I missed out, that I ended up staying exactly where I was. How could I possibly move forward when I haven’t figured out the past I reasoned.
Now I understand that without these words, I may have never figured out that there is no alarm clock like buzzer that tags me out. It’s up to me. I choose. There is no such thing as “too late”. I’ve always been exactly on time.
I never did check with the deliverer of these words to find out if my self-imposed definition and his matched. I figured it didn’t matter, these words belong to me now