I know turning forty is a big milestone. The “halfway” point of our lives. For some what an exciting time to look back and see what you accomplished. For others a regret to how little has been accomplished thus far. When I turned forty I camped closer to the second set of folks. I had a small bubble of panic that surfaced somewhere between my gut and my heart. There was still so much to do. So many dreams shifted from one burner to the next, but never fully realized. Forty years rushed by like a speeding subway car past the platform on which I felt I was still standing. And before you say “it’s never too late” I’ll let you in on some of those dreams:
Ballet dancer. Okay, so that’s a common one for little girls. I did dance for a number of years, but never professionally, and not even with much consistency. Do you know how many ballet schools accept and train forty-year-old women professionally? None. And honestly, I have just enough aches in various part of my body to realize that’s not an option. But I still daydream about choreography when I hear an inspiring song. And I dance when I clean the house.
Finish college. Yes, can be done. But at this point, except to say I did it, it’s unlikely I’ll take my degree to the work force and build a bright shiny new career. Plus, two kids in college already, a third tuition isn’t very practical nor wise.
Musician. Guitar, violin, piano. I played the flute and middle school band. I enjoyed it, but in all honestly as a silly 8th grader I was too boy crazy and distracted to appreciate much about music except the pop song on the radio. I dropped out of band not long into high school. Before I knew it there was piano lessons for my own kids. Then karate, gymnastics, football, baseball, swim…recitals, practices, games. I blinked and 15 years had passed.
Writer. This one came close. I took every creative writing class offered in high school and college. I took community college classes and even wrote for a niche magazine. I entered competitions and joined a writing group. But again, life entered stage left and I found myself trying out for a new role. This one of real estate agent. It was a fun gig. But I never really went back to writing.
I watched opportunities drift by like tiny bubbles in a swift flowing stream, while I sat on a log dragging the muddy bottom. And truth be told, it wasn’t always obligations that held me from diving headlong into the river. Fear, not only of starting, but failing, at some of these long-held dreams kept me rooted firmly to the soggy sideline.
In a unexpected shift of gears, not only did the kids leave the nest, but my husband and I did too. From the US heartland of Texas to the island of Oahu. Nothing like a tropical breeze and a sandy beach to make all things seem possible. Well, a lot of things. Don’t think I’ll be trying out for prima ballerina in the Nutcracker anytime soon. But it’s amazing how removing just a few distractions can give life to things that seemed long dead. I turn 46 this year. I have cultivated a precious treasure chest of memories, experiences, friends. I have enough age to have some wisdom and enough youth to put that wisdom to use. Just when I thought I’d been put out to pasture I find I still have a few things to offer. I realize I’m just getting started.