Are You Too Old To Achieve Your Dreams? | Pink Glitter Knit Cardigan | 01.03.18
TOO OLD TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS?
I’m the kind of person that loves a good birthday celebration – unless it’s my own. Every year, my birthday rolls around and it feels like the exact opposite of a celebration. I don’t make any plans, I don’t expect anything and I certainly don’t honour what feels like another nail in the coffin. In fact, the entire concept of turning a year older fills me with utter dread.
Most of that feeling comes down to the fact that I’m obsessed with measuring my success, and naturally, turning a year older seems like an obvious marker. When I turn 23 in April, I know that I will look back on the last 365 days and think: ‘What did I achieve in the 22nd year of my life?’ Perhaps some people think I did alright. After all, I earned my undergraduate degree, I made my first decent earnings from freelance work and I started a Master’s degree at one of the best universities in the world. However, an achievement doesn’t feel like something to celebrate if it isn’t the goal you’re chasing.
Age is just a number, and I know that, but it’s something I find myself unhealthily caught up in. Every birthday feels like a ticking clock, counting down to a moment where, in a heartbeat, I’ll be too old. Too old for what? Depending on the profession you go into, the age at which you’re expected to reach certain milestones changes. For example, Ollie has just been accepted onto a PhD programme. By the time he finishes, he’ll be at least 26, and just beginning his career in academia. Meanwhile, I feel like the ideal age to start a career in music has already been and gone, and the years are stacking up against me.
Sometimes, I curse my 15 year old self for the choices she made. After all, music at Oxford worked out really well, didn’t it? But then I remember that it wasn’t all down to me, and I have to remember that when I find myself obsessively comparing myself to artists who are the same age as me. While they were making their breakthroughs at the age of 18, I was recovering from sepsis, having a wound packed and dressed every week and beginning my spiral into mental health problems. Sometimes, it feels like life has been unnecessarily cruel to me, but I have to accept that I cannot change the cards I was dealt.
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb which says: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ It’s something I have to repeat to myself like a mantra, alongside the names of all of the artists I admire who were late to the game, as a reminder that it isn’t too late for me either. After all, who gets to decide when somebody is too old? Who gets to decide who is ‘late to the game’? Well, you know what they say about games: if you don’t like the game, change the rules.
You’ve got to try, right?
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