Your Voice

Your Voice: Better late than never

People may change their plans, but not their goals, and it’s never too late when it comes to self-development and education.

Your Voice: Better late than never

I once received a message from a close and sincere friend congratulating me on an anniversary. I was surprised, at first glance, because the anniversary had been some days earlier. However, my friend’s use of the phrase “better late than never” recognized the delay, and I was thankful to be remembered during such busy times.


While better late than never should not be used to disrespect schedules and commitments, the phrase embodies some important concepts. Many circumstances are beyond our control and can hinder us from achieving our goals. However, we are reminded that there is advantage in resuming work toward objectives that have value, even if we missed the opportunity at an earlier stage.


During my graduation ceremony from university in the U.K., I talked with a fellow graduate seated next to me who appeared to be in her sixties. She explained how she’d dreamed of continuing her education, but had passed through many prolonged life circumstances that consumed much time and energy. Yet when things “normalized,” she resumed her educational journey. “I realized it was the right time to achieve my childhood dream,” she told me.


Better late than never flies in the face of another adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” As this mature graduate demonstrated, people may change their plans, but not their goals, and it’s never too late when it comes to self-development and education.


Conversely, the better late than never concept may help us to stop doing something. For example, some of our behaviors or thoughts may no longer be appropriate or correct — even those we’ve held on to for many years. It can be challenging to accept that we need to change, but carrying on regardless should be seen as more problematic. A single step on a new and better path can lead to a great sense of comfort and confidence.


While better late than never may sometimes be used with a degree of sarcasm to remark on someone's tardiness, it is perhaps wiser to afford this phrase a little more gravity. We should look to the positives and turn our reaction from one of blame and shame to respect and appreciation.


Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.

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