You’re Never too Old to Follow Your Dreams, But you May have Lost Your Nerve
Just about the time I turned fifty all hell broke loose and continued for five or six years. My father died, my mother, almost ninety, needed more of my time and attention, my kids were leaving the nest, 9/11 happened and our business tanked as a result. My husband had a heart attack and while he survived mostly unscathed it left me acutely aware of his humanity and my own. I began to have health issues, mostly a result of stress. In retrospect I was simply riding the midlife wave and like all waves they crest and fall and then things level out.
Surviving that ride taught me a few things about life and more importantly about myself. Sometimes you have to hang on for dear life and sometimes you just have to let go and follow where it leads. We all know that fighting the wave can be a death knell. For a time I put up an awful fight, hence my health issues and ongoing angst. I was angry and sad and above all terrified. Losing our loved ones is probably the most painful experience many of us will ever live through and I felt it coming at me from all sides. At times I wanted to curl up in a ball or run away. I didn’t like what life had become or my response to it.
The good news is that going through this ring of fire made me realize how precious life is and how short. We don’t get forever to do the things we want to do and there comes a moment when it is time to make the most of each day we still have. I woke up on the other side of fifty to the realization that I had not even come close to achieving my dreams ~ my personal dreams. I had dreamed of having a husband that loved me and healthy, happy children and I did have some colorful shadow of what I had expected, but I had not done for myself the things I had hoped. I always thought there would be time for me later. As the dust began to settle I also discovered that in the process I had lost my youthful enthusiasm for life and as a result was deathly afraid of taking risks.
The landscape after midlife looks very different from the way it did when we were young but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of time to live the life we know we were meant to live and to do those things that are most important to us to do. Even when fear is nipping at your heels we can move forward by taking one tiny step at a time. Before long we are running with the wind at your back straight into a new phase of your life. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Write down one dream you want to achieve.
- Next write down everything you can think of that you need to do, or need to know, in order to achieve that dream.
- If you come across a step that seems overwhelming, break it into smaller steps until you find one that you can manage.
- Then take that small step, and then the next and the next.
- Whenever you run into an obstacle ask yourself what I need to do or learn in order to get through the obstacle. Break it down until you find one thing you are absolutely sure you can do and then do it.
You are never too old to follow your dreams.