It's Too Late

Geoff Chan

Geoff Chan ยท

ยท 3 min read

This is an excuse that I've given myself time and time again. I'm writing this today as a reminder that ignoring that feeling can lead to good things.

When I was 17 I really wanted to learn to play the guitar. My two best friends were musicians in bands, so I was exposed to a lot of good guitarists. The spark of interest was there for me, but I never committed to starting because I felt like I was already too old to learn it (yes, I felt this was at 17 ๐Ÿ˜…). I felt like there were already too many guitarists in the world. If I truly wanted to be a good guitarist then I would have needed to start at a much younger age. One day, one of my musician friends made me come with him to a music shop. I saw a beginner Fender guitar on sale for $200 and spontaneously decided to buy it.

Fast forward a few years and I was part of my church's band as a guitarist. I had also started what you might call my first real business as a freelance guitar teacher, with 14 students at its' height. I made many lifelong friendships because of my decision to start playing the guitar. But the most life-changing outcome of my decision was meeting my wife, who was a singer in my church's band. All of this happened because of a decision I made to pursue a spark of interest.

In 2013 I was working at my first job as a front-end developer. At this point in my life, I had not completely figured out what I wanted to do with my career, even though I had been working as a front-end developer for about a year and a half. I think a lot of people with "career" jobs feel the same way. That year, my company sent me to a dev conference in Montreal called ConFoo. I was completely blown away and taken in by the amazing things people were doing on the web. JavaScript was just starting to really take off with frameworks like AngularJS coming onto the scene. Part of me really felt like I had already missed the boat. Other developers were building amazing things and I could barely write a line of code (I was pretty much a copy-paste coder back then).

I came back from that conference and I couldn't shake the feeling that something big was happening in the web development community. I decided that I needed to follow my gut. I made a career-changing decision that I would put aside my other ambitions (most of which were actually just hobbies) and focus my career on being the best JavaScript developer I could be. This decision opened doors for me and has given me a core drive that I can always come back to. At the end of the day, I am a JavaScript developer that loves to build things. It has completely changed the trajectory of my career and is in large part why I'm lucky enough to be running Stack Five today.

So why am I writing all of this? It is a reminder (mostly to myself) that a spark of interest can lead to life-changing events IF you act on it. Ignore the feeling that you're too late or too old to learn something. Ignore all of the many reasons not to do it and trust what your gut is telling you. A spark of interest is enough and life is too short. Just go for it!

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." -Sun Tzu
Copyright ยฉ 2024 Geoffrey Chan. All rights reserved.