First, I’m stealing this blog topic (and title) from another blogger that I recently started following. pscapp probably thinks I’m a stalker because I “like” every single blog post, but there is something about the writing that gets me thinking, so if you are looking for another blog to follow, I recommend this Reading, Writing, Running, and Rhythm.
If you read that post (no seriously, go back and read it) it is about turning 50 and realizing there are many things you always thought you would do, but now you realize you are never going to do them. I’m getting close to that age myself, and I recognized my own thoughts in those words. Where as once I had ambitions for myself, I now have ambitions for my daughter, who is 20 and still has plenty of time to achieve her dreams.
But at the same time, it is hard for me to realize I’m not 20 myself. I still kinda feel like my whole life is ahead of me and I have plenty of time to do the stuff I want to do. Don’t I? Do I?
And the thought keeps coming back, why can’t you do it? What’s getting in the way.
Well obviously my life is getting in the way. Turning 50 (I’m still over a year away, understand) is coming up in my thoughts again and again. This “milestone” birthday seems bigger and more significant than previous milestones. I don’t even remember turning 30. I was a single mother with a two-year old (undiagnosed) autistic child. On the list of things I cared about, my age was way, way, down the list. I kind of wanted 40 to be a celebration. I was in a relationship. My business was going well. I had lots to celebrate. But we got busy and it passed by without too much notice. I tried to have a party for my 45th. I got very, very sick and missed my own party. (I have bad karma when it comes to birthday parties. I have promised my family never to plan another one. But that’s a post for another blog.)
My new hero: Sister Marion Irvine. She was overweight and had never regularly exercised when she started jogging in her late 40s. By her 54th birthday she qualified for the US Olympic Trials.
So what are my nevers? And how many of them are really off the list? Which ones do I still have time for?
- Get my black belt in karate.
- Get my doctorate degree.
- Write and publish a book.
- Run a marathon.
- Travel to Africa and Asia.
- Learn another language.
- Learn to play the guitar.
- Sail the Caribbean and/or Mediterranean.
This is kind of a bucket list, but the nevers are a little different. As we grow older, we recognize that some of the things we always thought we would do are off the table for good. For example, I’m pretty much resigned that I’ll never be blackbelt. I did karate a lot in my 20s and tried to go back at one point in my 30s. However with two very weak ankles, it doesn’t seem like something I will get to do again. Probably. I’m not totally giving up on that one.
And others are only off the table if I don’t do something about it. My grandfather was in his 60s when he learned to play the piano. He was so good, he taught many of his grandchildren, me included. And I’ve been researching the internet for people who were “late bloomers” making their most serious contributions after they turned 50. For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder published Little House on the Prairie when she was 65, Julia Child was in her 40s when she left her Intelligence Career to attend Le Cordon Bleu and 49 when her first cookbook was published, and Grandma Moses was in her 70s when she started painting.
Don’t let her smiling fool you. This cardsharper pretended to be confused about the rules and then soundly beat me 10 out of 12 games.
I’ve been talking about going back for my doctorate for about 10 years now. Time and money have always gotten in the way, but I feel like that is just an excuse. If you want something badly enough you have to work for it, make time, and find a way.
My grandmother passed away fairly recently. She was 103 when she died, and fairly active almost up until the end. She played golf and drove well into her 90s. I have good genetics and take care of my health, so I try to think about it as if I’m only about 1/2 way through with my life.
At the same time I know that I probably will not do all the things on my list. That’s what a “case of the nevers” means. I have come to grips with not doing some of them. Others, however, I don’t want to give up on just yet.