After nearly a year, last night I officially completed the final level of the Second City Improv program. I had wanted to do Improv since high-school, but I couldn't locate/hold onto the courage needed to do so (After being picked on pretty seriously in grade school, I hit puberty at 100 miles/hour and then worked very hard to cultivate my 'womanly coolness' and therefore making fun of myself was inconceivable). Then all throughout my 20s, I kept talking myself out of pursuing it, plagued by the silly belief that if I wasn't already doing it by high-school, then there was no point. Luckily J. kept on my case about it, and in my 29th year I bit the bullet (hard) and signed up. In other words, I spent the last year of my 20s doing what I'd wanted to do when I was 15.
So the thing I want to say is this: do the thing you wanted to do when you were 15. No matter how old you are now. Or how silly you think you'll look. Or how much of a loser you think everyone around you will think you are. Yeah, maybe you'll hate it, but then you can stop, and at least then you'll know you tried. But maybe you'll love it!
And if it seems selfish to prioritize your dreams because of your job/family/the state of the world, think of it this way: the world needs Late Bloomers. We need people who arrive at their passions newly uncaged and hungry. I imagine what the world would look like if George Saunders never pursued his writing because he knew he'd never be a wunderkind. Or Ricky Gervais, who was 40 when 'The Office' premiered.
I share this in the hopes that you can benefit from my longtime cowardice, and go after the things you really desire, however uncomfortable, and however much you still feel like the 9-year-old girl who everyone thinks is a boy thanks to your Mom's unflinching obsession with the mushroom cut while meanwhile all the popular girls have silky horse's manes poking out the backs of their pretty heads. (Photo shared for proof. I call this my 'Harry Potter' look).