It's not a race.

Picture of me and some of my favorite people with Bobby Jindall. We are all fangirling inside. #nerds

A few nights ago, I attended a political function for Josh Hawley (aged approximately 35), candidate for the Attorney General of Missouri. His event was opened by Bobby Jindall (aged approximately 45), former governor of Louisiana. Regardless of your opinion of their politics, it’s irrefutable that these men have accomplished great things.

Hawley was one of the lawyers who argued the famous Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court and won. Jindall has a laundry list of accomplishments, including spearheading religious liberty movements within his home state of Louisiana. Perhaps most remarkable is how young they are. In politics, being under 50 years old and arguing before the Supreme Court or saving your state’s economy is extremely rare and virtually unheard of.

The story of that night is one I’ll tell another time, but what I really want to talk about something else.

Josh Hawley and Bobby Jindall are amazing people. So is Ann Makoskinki, teen inventor extraordinaire. Malala Yousafzai, who stood up to the Taliban as a young teenager. Shawn Johnson, Olympic gymnastics medalist at the age of sixteen. Mozart, composer of over 600 works by his death at 35.

We live in an age where we are bombarded with early successes, like the above people have had. These people are amazing, and their successes are as amazing. But too often we view their successes and feel guilt, instead of appreciation.

I’m older than they are, and look at my life. I haven’t done anything noteworthy.

I’m already almost twenty. I’ve done nothing for the past two decades.

I’ll never get a break. Some people have all the luck.

Admit it, we’ve all thought some form of those things at one point in time or another. We’ve all questioned where our lives are headed and whether we’ve used our time to its fullest.

But especially as youth in the twenty-first century, we question whether it’s too late to do something worthwhile. We view young entrepreneurs and scientists as competition for the discoveries we could have - and we believe should have - made.

But here’s the thing. Your life is not a race.

There’s no deadline for accomplishments.

There’s no reason to rush to find the perfect career. As tempting as becoming the head of a company by age 22 might sound, you don’t have to do it. It’s okay if you haven’t finished a novel before 17. Don’t worry if you never learned to play the piano, or took a gap year to find out what you love.

Grandma Moses began painting at the age of 80. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first book in her 60s. Most politicians don’t even get name recognition until their 50s-60s. And there are countless others whose names we don’t even know yet - because they haven’t received their big break. But it’s coming.

Caveat: don’t use the “no deadline” line as an excuse to lay around and waste time. That’s not the point. Just like you can’t use someone else’s early success as an excuse to feel guilty, you shouldn’t use late success to justify laziness.

The ever-wise Anne Frank said “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Change the world how you can now. But don’t feel let others’ success make you feel guilty about your life. Your moment is always coming. No one’s racing you to get there.