Read Time: 7 minutes

This past week, I’ve watched two shows that helped fuel this blog post. The artistry was completed weeks ago but the post itself has been in draft mode for some time. Trying to find the right words hasn’t been easy because it isn’t a fun topic to talk about.

“The Late Bloomer” could be any one of us. At any point in time, we can point to areas of our lives that we feel like aren’t “where they should be.” I personally had all sorts of ambitions and visions of my life and could very reasonably say I failed. And so could Alex Russell from Netflix’s Maid and Issa Dee from Insecure. Those two shows really helped me to see the “why” behind a post like this. It’s needed, at least for me, to reassure myself that, just because something didn’t happen by a certain age or time in our lives, that I failed. Some quotes from each show that stood out to me were:

Alex: I’m just — I’m trying to figure out some stuff with my family right now and piece together how I got here. … [in reference to “where is here?”] I don’t know, I grew up here so I see myself everywhere. … Now, I am 25 years old, and I’m living with my mother and my kid in an RV, cleaning toilets full-time. Pretty sexy stuff.

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Alex Russell from Maid

Issa: I mean, even with this panel today, I thought it was gonna make me feel like somebody, like I was somewhere. But all it did was remind of where I’m not … I’m still out here plumbin’ toilets … I”m in my 30s, startin’ this new career, still managing dusty-ass apartments somebody else owns. Everything’s out of my control.

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Issa Dee from Insecure

It wasn’t until I wrote the quotes down for both characters that I noticed the parallel of cleaning toilets – very interesting! But even more interesting is how both women have characteristics they’re attributing to their “failures.”

  • Things being outside of their control, whether it’s just how life has dealt them their cards or how family/friends/external forces have held them back.
  • Age. Each character seems to think that by a certain age, they should have been further along than they are. Sound familiar? I’m curious as to why there are magical ages like 25, 30, 40, 50… they sound intuitive for sure but who said our lives had to be figured out by … say 30? That seems to be a popular one.
  • Reflection. Both think about their current situation in the context of trying to piece things together or striving to “make it make sense.” Alex is at odds with her family and how imperfect it is while Issa struggles with the setback of thinking being on a panel was going to make her feel important and it ended up doing the opposite.

Alex and Issa represent a good number of women, and people in general, who feel like they are striving towards something. Whether it’s a title, position, or specific circumstances, I’m sure we can all relate to saying “By the time I’m [insert age here], I want to be [insert socially-driven ambition here].” And while I think dreaming, striving, and planning are healthy things that we should all partake in, I firmly believe we need to leave some space for life to happen. Planning things and comparing our progress with others is one sure-fire way to becoming unhappy. That thing called life has plans of its own and if we don’t factor that into our grand plans, we end up in this vicious cycle of feeling like we failed because things didn’t go as planned.

This is the part in the post where I get really cliché and tell you that we all have our own journeys and cannot compare our experiences to those of others. And as cliché as it is, it is true. In the age of social media and constant sizing up, drawing conclusions on where you should be and why you’re not there is not healthy. Drawing inspiration and drawing envy are two different things. And we’ve all been guilty of that every now and then; I won’t pretend that I haven’t felt that gut punch when you see how far others have come or what they’ve been able to accomplish and think to myself – “why haven’t I done that?” But here’s the kicker and I’ll use Instagram as an example: those pictures do not come with a backstory detailing all of the struggles, hurdles, setbacks, and failures along the way. Too often, we see someone else “final product” and compare it with our “work in progress.” Stop doing that! Be present in your own journey and appreciate it for what it is. And know that until you take your last breath, your situation can change, in either direction. So be appreciative, be humble, and be proactive. That’s all you can really do because those factors that are outside of our control won’t go away.

If you haven’t watched Maid on Netflix or Insecure on HBO Max, I highly encourage you to. Very different genres but they get at some important things in this here life! I love “coming to” journeys because they provide the backstory that we often miss in those final product images I mentioned earlier. Dig deep into the goals you’ve outlined for yourself and think about what filters they had to travel through to make it to your To-Do list. Family filters, social filters, comparison filters, and more. It’s never as simple as it seems and neither are our journeys. That tenacity, grit, falling-down -and -getting -back -up — all of that is part of what makes us who we are. And who we are consists of more than the job title we hold or the materialistic belongings we have. So bloom late, if you must. Just make sure you are watering yourself and fostering healthy roots, leaves, and flowers.

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