People tell me I’m too late to many things in life. There is no timeline to complete anything by, though.
Timing in life is a lie.
I still don’t own a home.
I am a 30-something millennial and still don’t own a home. Owning a home is supposed to be a dream. I don’t really care about other people’s dreams; I care about my own.
Buying a home and having a huge mortgage has never appealed to me. I like to live in a fantasy land where I can get up at any moment and move countries. It’s probably never going to happen. But let me dream, right?
Who says you need to own a home by a certain age? A home locks you to a postcode and getting out isn’t easy. Selling your home is expensive and soul-crushing for many.
So why own a home by a certain age?
I am not a millionaire in my 30s.
All the startup porn says I’m a failure.
I didn’t go to a fancy university, graduate, work for a few years, start a company, raise a bunch of VC money, and exit my unicorn business for millions of dollars.
I tried entrepreneurship early in life and failed. It led me to have severe mental health issues that took some time to recover from. That process of reinvention allowed me to discover personal development and discover my passion for writing.
I’m glad I found writing rather than a 12-hour day working in a business controlled by VC firms who need to make quick returns for their investors. An investor can feel like dead weight and anything but a dream to those who’ve had them as masters.
Who says you need a business?
Who says you need to be a millionaire at all?
Zucks? Don’t give away all your f*cks to someone else’s idea of success. You’re not too late to be a millionaire. In fact you can be happy without all the money too.
Money is often a lie that the future will be better with it. Then you get the money and realize it does nothing for you.
How you think and how you feel is up to you — not money.
I didn’t get married in my 20s.
Yep, still not married. More than 80% of my friends are. I visit their Facebook profiles and all you see are photos of happy couples in some exotic location exchanging vows.
One of my friends just had a baby with her partner and they are still not married. She sees marriage as a show for somebody else.
A ring doesn’t change how she feels about the father of her baby.
A ring to her is an inconvenience and a whole day to blow lots of her life savings on a one-off event designed to highlight romance perfection. What if a wedding was old school? Could you choose love rather than a one-off occasion to show off how happy you are?
There’s no date to be married by. If you get married too quickly, you’ll get divorced even faster. Take your time. Let the love evolve.
I haven’t got two kids like my friends who are the same age.
The vast majority of my friends have at least one sperm that has become a small human being. I am happy for them. My home is still empty.
Maybe I’m stupid or missing out. There’s no pre-defined date. There’s no point calculating your future child’s twenty-first birthday in relation to how old you’ll be then. You will never be too old to be a parent and love a child you helped create. You can be like Helen Cassidy in her 80s and have more energy and vitality than a twenty-one-year-old drinking Pepsi with every meal.
Kids are a personal decision. My work colleague had his first one when he was nearly fifty. He doesn’t regret it at all. He wanted to travel the world, so he met a partner later in life and had kids when he was ready.
You can do the same. Kids are your choice. Say no to kids FOMO.
I am not the head of some huge corporate division.
It would be nice, wouldn’t it? Big office. Sports car. Fancy title. People saying “yes boss” while you walk through the lobby.
I don’t run a huge corporate decision. If anything my corporate career has gone backwards (by choice). I chose to have more spare time to write, rather than work for someone else and let my creative dreams evaporate.
Work you’re passionate about is worth paying the price for.
Here’s where I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I used to play a game where I’d compare my LinkedIn profile career history with people who were the same age as me. It made me sick. Some bright sparks could be in a job for a year and get a promotion. Others, like me, hadn’t had a promotion in years.
Something cool happened: I looked up the LinkedIn profile of a former bad boss. He had a new job title change every six months. The titles got bigger and better. But he didn’t officially get promoted.
Then I asked a friend and he’s like “no they just changed their title because they believed their duties had changed.” That’s when I realized that people could give themselves whatever job title they want. In one job I saw a few smart people negotiate a change in job title when they couldn’t get a pay increase or a bonus.
Don’t fall for job title circus. You can give yourself whatever title you want — and it won’t matter. People decide what your real title is based on how you treat them.
And there’s no right time to achieve a particular job title. The right time to progress in your career is up to you.
I didn’t understand social media until 2 years ago.
Yep, I was a total smuck on LinkedIn and dished out success porn. Two years ago I finally got the message thanks to Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the Enemy.” The lesson was this:
Social media is not about you and your awesomeness.
I started writing for the reader and everything changed. Many of my close friends were much earlier to the social media party. One of my mentors already had 400,000 Facebook followers. I started thinking I was falling behind — what a joke.
You master social media when you master yourself.
That can happen at any point in your life and that’s a beautiful thing. Don’t rush your personal growth. You don’t need a huge audience to be happy. You need to make a difference and you can do that right now.
I still can’t get on a stage without feeling nervous.
I’ve been nervous about getting on stage for most of my life. Getting in front of people makes me incredibly nervous. My hands start to sweat and my stomach goes weak from stress. A few years ago I joined Toastmasters. I got my public speaking sh*t together.
Compared to my friends, I’m late to the communication game. Most people can speak in front of an audience after a few years in a career. Not me. I was late to it and denied my fear of public speaking for years.
But you can conquer a fear at any time, when you’re ready. There’s no set target date to become a decent communicator. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Public speaking is hard and you can learn it at any age.
Nerves are good, too. Nerves equal breaking your comfort zone.
Nerves signal you are stepping into growth and out of mediocrity. So welcome the nerves into your life.
I still don’t have a fancy degree (unless you count sound engineering).
No fancy university or piece of paper that costs six-figures and all of my savings. Nope, I came from the school of hard knocks.
I failed at many startups. I got dumped by lots of women. I had my ass handed to me many times. I was almost beaten to death as a teenager. I was fired. I faced the difficult art of getting a company to hire me with an employment gap. I made an idiot of myself on social media. Everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. And I’m bloody proud.
Setbacks define you.
Setbacks shape your mindset and show you what’s possible. It’s hard to be properly optimistic when you’ve never had everything you’ve worked for taken away.
The best part about the education you get from life is gratitude. Adversity makes you grateful for what you do have. If you hear someone complaining about life then they probably need a giant failure to change their thinking.
There’s no age you need to have a university education by. Because you may not need a university education at all. Life can teach you plenty.
We are all at different levels in each area of life.
You could be at expert level in your career, and beginner level in your home life. You could be an amazing leader and a crappy dad. You could be a great musician and a terrible writer.
That’s why when a person talks about a huge success in their career, I instantly think, “what had to suffer in another area of their life?”
There is no “right time” to do anything.
Life is not a competition where there are winners and losers.
The right time to do something is when it makes sense for you.
Take it easy and don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing fine. Slow down and enjoy your life.