Gardens – A sequel: Let it Bloom

I suppose it’s the season – I just can’t get flower imagery out of my head. So, as a follow-up to my last post, I thought I would talk about the need to let things bloom in their own time.

As someone who is very much a “late bloomer” in life, the idea of being odd or weird has certainly plagued me from time to time. Very often, I felt left behind because of my anxieties. As I’ve grown older, I can appreciate more and more that we truly are built differently. While being overly cautious is not ideal in life, that’s not to say that there is something inherently wrong with simply moving at your own pace.

In today’s culture, we’re made to think that we all have to reach certain milestones at certain times. Our very school system is set-up in this way. We grow up being pressured to learn things at the same uniform pace as everyone else. As we age, so many of us pressure each other with other life experiences, as well… “Why aren’t you driving yet? You just turned 16?”, “You’re 21 – and a virgin?! Why?”, “How do you still not have a career goal? You need to grow up!”

These are all messages I’ve heard other people say to me, or that I’ve said to myself. The truth of the matter is that I usually don’t have “reasons” for not doing things as quickly as other people. I just don’t like to be rushed. I like feeling ready and as if I’m genuinely doing something out of my own interest or desire. Sometimes, the wait has been worth it – for instance when I taught myself how to ride a bicycle, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Other times, especially in the romantic realm, I found myself waiting so long and then throwing in the towel only to have an experience because of my insecurity or loneliness when I probably should have waited even longer, despite being so culturally out of the norm for it. Luckily, in those latter cases, I try not to hold onto shame. After all, life is full of learning experiences and even when we cave to social pressure or fail to meet our own standards, we can always start fresh again with new learning in mind.

And that’s just what I aspire to keep doing. Recently, I heard the actress, Jane Fonda, describe herself as a “late bloomer.” She said she did everything late in life, but always found the label to be funny. In her opinion, a beautiful flower can still be just as beautiful even if it blooms later than the one next to it.   

So, to my fellow late bloomers, I’d like to offer that takeaway forward since it was pretty profound for me. It’s okay to do things in our time. And when we do finally come to the moment where we decide we’re ready for something – it’s okay if we screw up and make some mistakes along the way, or realize that we still weren’t actually ready. That’s all just a part of the temporary wilting process I mentioned in my last post. We can come back.

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