As a woman who decided to complete my education in my late thirties and continue into a Masters program in my forties and plan to finish my doctorate before 50, I am a bit of a late bloomer. I graduated high school, pushed myself through junior college to get an associate degree out of the way (even though I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up), was married by 21, had a baby at 23 and divorced by 28. Needless to say, I felt pressure to be everything as quickly as possible and in the process I made some mistakes. In a nutshell, I felt this need to conform to societies expectations and timelines.
Being 40 when you graduate with a BA degree is kinda looked at like…’well yeah most people accomplish that in their twenties soooo…good job at finally catching up to the rest of the world with a degree you probably will not ever use’. I chose to complete my degree in psychology and continue on with my masters in mental health counseling and hope to move on to my doctorate. The consensus about psychology degrees seems to be that everyone loves the classes because they are interesting and a lot of people get the degree, but many just go on to get a job that does not relate to psychology at all. So, not only am I going back to school and going through this big career change later in life, but I am also faced with the idea that the path I have chose is looked at as a bit of a cake walk that won’t amount to much.
Not to mention the other timelines pushed on me….what, only one child? What? You got divorced 12 years ago and you never remarried? You have been dating a guy three years and you haven’t discussed marriage? You are going to end up alone with 17 cats, a degree you can’t use and one child that will never call home…end of story. Yes, all of these things have been said directly or joked about by both friends and family, even my parents. At what point do you just say fuck it! I am definitely not the normal girl and honestly, I don’t know that I want to be.
I have been a lot happier since I have started following my own timeline and stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks. I will admit, knowing there are many out there who may think that way makes me even more determined to prove those false narratives all wrong. By the way, who is to say that lady with 17 cats isn’t livin’ the dream? Live your life by your own timeline and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
With love to all the late bloomers in the world,