That voice bummed me out. It didn't change my actions—I still showed up for my morning and afternoon meditations—but it led to feelings of frustration. Not just with my past self for not having started sooner, but also with my present self for not being further along—even though that was an impossible ask. I was where I was.
Four years later, I can tell you that the voice was probably correct. I would have benefitted from starting sooner, because meditation is great and many of its effects are cumulative.
That said, even if eight weeks into a meditation practice I would have been further along, the fact that I kept showing up allowed me to reach a point where I know that even though I'm going to continue feeling better and better... I already feel pretty darn good most of the time.
Today, it matters less when I started than it does that I started... and kept going.
Of course, starting a self-care practice is different from starting your prep for college admissions tests. There are specific years when students usually take the SAT and ACT. There are official test dates when the tests are offered. It's not the sort of thing that you pick up if and when you want to.
However, the moral remains the same. You can't change what decisions you made in the past. All you can do is start (or keep) showing up in the present. Your power is always found and applied right here and right now.
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