A friend sent me photos of his art work last week. He is, like me, in his mid-thirties. (OK, past the exact middle, but who's counting?) His art work was good. There was a sketch of a woman that I especially liked, although it was instantly clear that something was wrong with her arms. He hadn't quite got them right.
I had two thoughts about that. The first was, wow, with a bit of support, and someone to show him what's wrong and how to fix it, he could really be good at this. The second was, what a shame he didn't know he wanted to do this, and work on it when he was fresh from school. If he'd perfected his technique back then, and spent the next twenty years improving and practising, just think how polished he'd be by now.
Then in a rush, I realised how that applies to me. I thought of all the time wasted because someone knocked my confidence when I was seventeen. I thought of the modules I took alongside my BEd - Journalism and Short Story - which I passed, but didn't appreciate and exploit the way I ought to have, if I'd taken them seriously. I must've been sleep-walking through life not to spot the opportunity I had there, but I'm a late developer. I simply didn't realise that these could really be options for me.
But the good thing is, I'm only in my mid-thirties (or thereabouts), as is my friend. It's not too late to learn, and we still both stand a chance of having another twenty years to polish our arts...and then a few spare years to rest on our laurels...?!