OPPORTUNITIES LOST AND FOUND
There are so many opportunities that come our way throughout our lives - some we grasp and head into the future with, and others slip through our fingers and become missed moments for growth. I can't begin to count how many times I've missed out on something because I was too scared to take a risk, or because someone didn't give me the benefit of the doubt and tell me to take a chance.
I GUESS I'LL NEVER BE OLIVIA
I never learned to play a musical instrument - my parents probably couldn't afford tuition and it never crossed their minds to offer it to me anyway. I'd love to know how to read music and how to play the piano or the guitar. But you know what? There's nothing stopping me from learning now if it is still important to me. I could sign up for guitar lessons tomorrow and be playing Banks of the Ohio before I know it. Why Banks of the Ohio? Beats me but I always hear it in my head when I think about playing the guitar! Maybe it's the Aussie Olivia Newton John thing, but I know my husband finds it rather discomforting when he hears me singing about killing my love - for some strange reason.
Then there was my education, or lack thereof - another area my parents weren't keen on spending money on. Apparently tertiary education wasn't worth investing in for their daughter "because girls just get married and have babies and it's wasted" What?! So I ended up studying something that paid a small stipend while you did your degree and guaranteed a job at the end. It didn't matter that it wasn't really what I wanted to do - it was a job and that should be enough.
Fast forward to now and I could probably go to university and study anything that takes my fancy, but the impetus just isn't there - I wish I'd had the chance when I was younger, and I certainly made sure both our children followed their dreams, but I really can't complain when I'm not prepared to put in the hard yards now. There would have been a lot more incentive with forty years of employment ahead rather than the ten years I have left now - although that doesn't stop some 80 or 90 year olds who have a dream they really wanted to fulfill before they die.
I think what it ultimately boils down to is the question "are you content?" If you're not, there's no point blaming the thwarted wishes of youth, or the lack of opportunities way back then. If there is something pulling at your heart strings, or if your mind feels like it's not expanding at the rate you'd like it to, then it's never too late to start.
There is a saying that I love that says "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now." It is a real kick in the pants and a reminder that it's never too late to plant that tree - it might not ever reach the heights that 20 years extra growth would have given it, but it's going to be a lot taller and a lot more meaningful than never having been planted at all.
FULFILLING MY WISH
So, what's your wish? and what are you doing to fulfill it? One of the biggest ones I've been working on is learning who I am in my own right, what I like for its own sake, what's important to me, what I value, what I want to invest in, who I love and how I'd like to be loved in return. These aren't necessarily tangible things with measurable outcomes, but they're important to me and I've never given myself the time to discover them until I reached midlife. I might award myself a Certificate of Achievement in Self Worth when I finally reach a point where I'm at peace with it all - and that beats a uni degree any day. I also may still learn to play Banks of the Ohio before I die!