Have you ever thought that it was just too late for you to start learning X or Y? I know I have. Many times. And I am not even in my thirties yet!
We see on a daily basis people who are great at what interests us. When we like a certain topic, we will look for it on the internet and find out that there are an innumerable amount of skilled people at that particular thing. This tends to demotivate us despite the fact that some of those people may have started at a later age than we are.
When it comes to languages, despite being at the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, I see on a weekly basis dozens and dozens of people more skilled at it than me. I used to think that the reason was certainly the length of study, that they had studied it for more years than me. But that isn’t always the case. One of my acquaintances started Japanese only 5 years ago (about half the time I’ve put in it) and is better than I am. Did I give up on improving after meeting him? Of course not! That’s all the more reasons to keep on getting better!
So, when should you start learning? The Nike slogan is a good answer: Just Do It!
But more importantly: Keep doing it, tweak your learning to fit where you are in the curve and never give up.
What used to work for you doesn’t mean it still does 1, 5 or 10 years later. I learned most of my Japanese, Korean and Mandarin through conversations and videos
but I have been struggling in the past few years because this just doesn’t motivate me as much as it used to be. I now want to enlarge my knowledge of specific topics that are more of interest to me, in a new language. Reading and writing are of the utmost importance for such a task, so that is what I have been doing. My Korean has improved more in the last 2–3 months than in years due to me reading (only 5min!) and writing (only 5 lines!) in Korean every single day.
So if you like something and want to get good at it, just get on with it and find what works! Stop thinking about others and just love what you do. You’ll get there eventually if you don’t give up.