I am a fan of fresh starts and second chances. You get as many of those in life as you want. But we need to talk about the problem with “it’s never too late” sayings and how maybe they’re stopping you from doing what you’re meant to do.

a rocky, gray, blurry background with a dying sunflower in the fore with the text "The Problem With It's Never Too Late Sayings"

Do I believe it’s never too late for everything in life? Nope. My joints sound like sand when I get up in the morning and I have like a quarter of the energy and healing ability I had when I was a teenager.

Ergo, it’s too late for me to start training to be a professional athlete.

In fact, there are windows of time when you need to go for things. There are some things that can only be done during certain seasons of life, and that’s okay.

Like, if you showed me a professional athlete’s diet plan today, I’d shake my head and go eat some cheesy potato soup in a bread bowl. I’ve got other concerns in life right now, and they are mostly carbs and dairy.

But I still work out and set physical goals. Because it’s never too late for me to do that. And there are tons of adult intramural sport leagues where I live, so I can still play any game I’m interested in.

Sure, I can’t do it on the professional level, but then again, neither can the vast majority of people. I can still play though, and it’s never too late for me to join a team.

Now, I want to focus on the “it’s never too late” meaning that this post is about. And that is where you say “it’s never too late” like it’s a security blanket to keep you safe forever.

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It’s Never Too Late

Okay. But before we get too far into it, generally speaking, it’s never too late.

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For example, it’s never too late to start something new. Got an idea for a novel, a desire to take up a new hobby, or just a general need to expel some artistic energy? Do it. Seriously. Just do it.

Please, don’t say you don’t want to do it because you’re not good at it. Nobody is good at stuff when they first start out. So don’t hold yourself back because you’re not an expert. The number one way to never be an expert is to never start.

And it’s something new. So like, let yourself be new at it. Everything you’re good at now? You were once absolute shit at. For real. Then you learned.

Don’t make me talk about the growth mindset again, gang.

And furthermore, it’s never too late to dream. And I’m not talking about just dreaming about something without ever doing anything. Though, you can do that. As a maladaptive daydreamer, it’s kind of my thing. But I’m talking about the type of dreaming where you let yourself imagine what it would be like to go to the next level.

It’s never too late to dream of being something bigger or better. It’s never too late to dream about what your life could be like when you finally let yourself do the thing you’ve always wanted to do.

So, all of that is to say that it’s never too late to do the thing you always wanted to do. Even if you can’t do it at the level you always wanted to because of age or resources or whatever. You can still do something.

And you can always have a fresh start or about face and go in the direction that’s calling you.

But sometimes, it is too late.

The Problem With “It’s Never Too Late” Sayings

I will never stop someone from starting something because I believe it’s never too late. But you know what I will stop someone from doing?

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Saying “it’s never too late” like we have infinite time on this planet. Because we don’t.

“It’s never too late” quotes and sayings are great to get you started when you think you can’t. They’re also great for allowing you to put something off because you’ve decided you have all the time in the world. So I am here for a good “it’s never too late” speech, but only when it’s followed by some action, dammit.

“It’s never too late to start” quotes can make you feel like you can just start whenever you get some free time. But there is no free time unless you make it.

“You are never too old” quotes are great and can remind you that you can do whatever you want, whatever your age. But they’re terrible when they make you put off doing that thing just because you feel like you’ll do that thing next year. And then next year arrives and you don’t start.

“It’s never too late to follow your dreams” quotes are fine if you use them to kickstart the work of making a dream come true. They’re painful reminders of how far gone you are when you realize you haven’t touched your dream in so long and you don’t even know how to get back into the headspace where you can do the work that dream requires.

Sometimes It’s Too Late

Too late is really a state of mind. It’s a mindset that you get to when you’ve been putting something on the back burner that never should’ve been there. Too late happens when you realize where the rest of your time went.

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I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about planning and how to use your time. I talk about taking imperfect action and about making space for the stuff you love. I talk about doing the thing you want to do.

Also, remember, no one owes you a damn thing, so do whatever you want.

Because guess what? You should do it. If you can squeeze it into your day, sometimes in small bits and pieces, maybe just 10 minutes on your lunch break, that’s better than nothing.

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No, it’s not the big, sexy expanse of time you may want to do your art or make a thing or whatever. But it’s something. And depending on what season of life you’re in, sometimes that little something is all you can have. I spent a lot of lunch breaks working on the little something. It may not feel like making progress, but it does eventually.

And I’m just saying this here because I have spent a lot of time waiting for the perfect time or the optimal season or the motivation or the inspiration. They never show up. It’s not real. And suddenly I feel like I have so little time to do the things I want to do.

So take it from me, someone who can’t stop feeling the sword of Damocles that is her own mortality.

It’s never too late until it is. And when it’s too late, you’ll wish you hadn’t spent so much time with those “it’s never too late” sayings.

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