There was a tortoise and a hare.
The tortoise challenged the hare to a race.
“What a joke,” thought the hare.
I did a bit of research and read several other articles because I didn’t want to be redundant with my story. But then I realized that the fact that there are several articles written about similar experiences just goes to show that we’re never alone. There will always be someone else who has gone through the same struggles that we are going or have gone through.
Being one of the oldest in my batch, I have always been pressured me into feeling like I was always running out of time. I felt failure on my part when someone younger than me was succeeding at something I knew I could do as well. But comparing myself to others was exhausting and so my whole high school and college life, I settled for mediocrity. I was in a pre-medical course and I had my eyes set on medical school. I had been dreaming of becoming a surgeon since I was 14, until I failed Chemistry over and over and over again. I was lost and I suppose I just stopped trying. I cared so little about where I was going that I failed to graduate college on time and I was totally not where I thought I would be.
For some people, seeing their friends succeed serves as the push that they need to better themselves and basically get their act together. Unfortunately, the effect it had on myself was to wallow in self-pity and further delay reality. Up until a few months ago, I still thought I had all the time in the world until I realized that I turn a quarter-of-a-century old this year. Only then did I finally start to seriously think about the rest of my life.
My younger sister has autism so Special Education had always been Plan B. I have no background in education so I explored my post-graduate options and plotted them on a 5-year timeline. I also included the projected expenses in the timeline, like how much each class I’d need to take would cost, just to be thorough. I presented my timeline to my parents to show them how serious I am about Plan B. I don’t think I’ve ever been more detailed in my life.
With a lot of guidance from my friends, and after extensive research, my life plan now includes completing a 1-year extension program in Early Childhood Education, and then obtaining a Masters of Arts in Education with concentration in Special Education degree. And somewhere along the way, I should have started teaching as well.
When I finally had everything sorted out, I was thankful that things happened the way they did. It served as the push that I needed. I realized that there was no point in comparing my progress to anyone else’s and that it was okay to go at my own pace. Some people figure out what they want to do a month after graduation, and others figure it out two years later.
There isn’t anything wrong with you if you don’t have a concrete life plan by the time you’re in your twenties. You are not failing life. It does not mean that you have no idea what you’re doing. Not everyone gets his or her calling early on in life. You simply have to trust that you are going at the speed that is meant for you and the speed that you can handle. You will get there; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will.
And besides, as cliché as it is, age is just a number. I mean, just look at the contestants on American Ninja Warrior. Some of them are in their 40’s and kicking butt. I’ll be 30 by the end of my 5-year life plan, but that’s okay.
Slow and steady wins the race.