So, two experiences that seem related from which I gleaned a useful lesson.
1. I came across some journal entries the other day from about 5 years ago--at the time, I was part way through my master's program, which made for an interesting contrast to now being part way through my PhD. It was fun to read about how I felt and to remember details that I haven't thought about in a while. I talked about weaknesses I had that I wanted to conquer. I was making goals (and failing and making more goals) to be better. It was a little bit depressing to realize that I am still making goals to overcome those particular issues and that I haven't made a lot of progress on those things in the last five years.
2. I've been a bit troubled lately and was having a really tough time articulating to myself what exactly was making me feel unsettled. Even in prayer I felt at a loss in expressing how I felt and why I felt that way. And anything I did manage to articulate was as troubling and frustrating as the trouble itself. I didn't know how I was going to find articulation, much less how I was going to deal with whatever it was that was bothering me. Several days/weeks into this vague bother my mom called me and we ended up talking through and exploring how I felt and I ended up finding peace and resolution and resolve to do good things. As I think about this, I really feel (and felt) that the Lord was answering my unarticulated longings and the cries of my heart. I felt/feel like God heard my unsaid prayer and sent me answers and help.
And that experience helped me to feel and see that it's never too late to be better and do better. Just as the Lord sent me answers to that unsaid worry, He will send me help and answers in this aspect of my life, too. And even though I'm still struggling with the same things I struggled with five years ago, and even though I had hoped to be strong today in the places where I was weak, and even though I could have done more then to be strong in those areas now, that doesn't mean game over. I can start again. I feel like I was being taught that God helps us, me, even when I'm a slacker and even when I'm late. Because with God it's never too late.