Do you remember the first moment you realized you were too old to do something? As a 22 year old, you might be wondering why on earth I’m talking about being “too old”, but I actually vividly remember the first time I had this realization.
I was sitting at home watching the Winter Olympics, probably the 2006 games? And I was watching figure skating. At this time I was 16 years old and it hit me… I will never be an Olympic figure skater, I was simply too old. The oldest female skaters were probably 23 but most of them had already been to at least one Olympic game before that.
I completely ignored the fact that I get sick of ice skating after about 45 minutes, or the fact that I probably lost the chance of being an Olympic competitor by the age of 10 when I had show zero interest in the profession my entire life. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that I wouldn’t be a professional figure skater in my life, I could have told you that at age 5, I just was bothered by the fact that my age was now playing a role in the reason I could never achieve that goal.
Now I am 22, and I watch people like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift… people have reached success at a much younger age than me. Teen pop stars are probably a bad example, but I also look at people like Mark Zuckerberg, he had already developed Facebook by 22, geez he’s still only 27.
I went to college thinking I would become a teacher. You can still be considered a “young” teacher at 40, so I was never very concerned about my age or the path I was taking in school to reach my goals. Now that I am out of school and without a teaching job, I have been considering steering towards other professions, specifically careers that may focus on technology, an ever-changing fast paced field, and I worry, did I get involved too late?
I know the answer to this is no. I am still in the “feeling it out” stages of becoming involved in tech. I was fortunate enough to have a 2 month internship at foursquare, so that definitely helped me understand start-ups and web companies faster than if I had just sat at home all day reading blogs and watching videos. But there are kids in high school right now, 16 year olds, that eat tech up like its candy. They are probably hacking away creating cool new programs and already budding their entrepreneur wings, if that makes any sense. These are the types of kids that Peter Thiel is paying not to go to college.
I will not be an early bloomer. I will not have billions by the time I’m 28. (Let’s be honest… I’ll never have billions!) But I am excited to start showing interests in something new. I might be a little late to the game, but at 22 I know that I still have plenty of time to figure out who I want to be and how I can become that person.
As long as that person isn’t an Olympic figure skater… or Justin Bieber.