It’s never to late to be what you might have been. – G. Elliot
The above quote is not only a source of encouragement, but a challenge!
How many dreams have we had to put aside until something else in our lives was completed? Only to have to keep pushing that dream aside as life places more things in our way that have to be placed at the top of our list of priorities? It’s happened to me more times than I can count!
When I was a young child, my dream was to be a teacher. I guess the influence of so many great teachers in my own life, both professional and otherwise, that it awakened this desire early on for me. As my life unfolded, then, unraveled, my journey took me on an ever winding, treacherous and sometime circuitous path to adventures near and far. Still, I teach! I can’t help myself because it is who I am. Granted, I am not a teacher by profession (paid to be one), but, everywhere I go; I am teaching. Will I ever be a teacher? In reality, I don’t know. I sometimes flirt with the idea, but it is still to be seen.
I was recently talking to my aunt, Letitia N. (also my godmother and the eldest person living in my family) who berated me for not being in school. I explained to her that I learned all I needed to know on the internet as there was so much information readily available that I could weed through in my own time garnering what I needed at any given point in time. Her response: “Oh, and they pay you for this?”
Now my Aunt Tisha, she’s one of those awesome women who does what she wants to do in her life while she’s doing what she has to do; this is an art I haven’t perfected yet. This woman raised nine of her own children and two of her grand children as a single parent. After her divorce, following her fifth child, she managed to, step by step, get four degrees; the final when she was 71 years old. She enjoyed annual vacations(she did this by saving her change in a 5-gallon water dispenser), saw several of her children through college, marriages, divorces and other life crisis, including one who is a drug addict, worked three jobs until 2005, when she was forced to leave New Orleans as a hurricane Katrina Evacuee. Through all of this, she never once complained, regretted or lamented her situation.
We’ve had many conversations in which I’ve walked away feeling like an inept bumpkin that just fell off of the hay wagon. For those who know me, they understand that this is no mean feat. In spite of her age, she’s very different from the women of her time as most of the women born in the era of 1931 still were not the dominant, self-contained women of today. The women of that era were mostly housewives and mothers, and even if they worked outside of the home were not very assertive. This makes my aunt a unique woman of her time. This being so, she is eternally getting on me about the limitations that she perceives in me and makes me aware of. The mark is always very high when it comes to following her directives. This being the case, she has made me aware that it is never too late to be what I choose to be. If I say I can’t she says, “I can’t” means I don’t want to!” You’ve seen the other quotes, I’ve posted regarding the things the women in my family have said to me. As you can tell, I come from a long line of assertive women who are not only determined, but wise as well. This being the case, I have a long way to go to meet the mark. Thank goodness I’m only sixty-two years old!
Due to my aunt’s prodding and pushing, I have finally decided to go back to school and earn my first degree. Of course, I chose something that would be easy for me, creative writing and English. Now most interestingly, only yesterday, I thought about my other goals and how this would fit into what I am doing. I realized that it was right on the mark, and I have been preparing for this, unbeknownst to myself, for most of my life. My grandmother paid my private school tuition. Years later, after dropping out of high school and running away from home, I returned to college and as always excelled in becoming the teachers’ pet, made lousy grades, and was a peer teacher in the Department of English for my work study during those years although my major was accounting. I once again dropped out of college due to life constraints.
The years passed, I relocated several times to several different states over the next few years and finally ended up back in college again. This time, I had to drop out due to health limitations. As I have said, I’ve always been a teacher, sharing my life experiences with others, pointing out their self imposed limitations and warped perceptions (hmm isn’t that what my aunt does to me?), and helping them to find new directions through this sharing. In response to the things these myriad number of persons have said to me I decided to write books, blog and start a website, all of which I am currently working on. There are many things I plan to do with my teaching prowess, include starting a series of seminars to share the life lessons I have learned. Most of these things are either on hold, slowly unfolding or collecting dust. None the less, because of my awesome aunt, I have once again begun to prepare to reenter the university system.
Through all of this trial and detour, I still haven’t given up on my dream. I still make plans and baby step by baby step, forge ahead towards accomplishing my goals. Granted it is at the speed of an overgrown tortoise, but I’m moving forward nonetheless.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is this; as long as you never give up, you never lose and victory is always on the horizon. I’ve already planned to live to be 120 years old because I’m such a slow learner and have so much to do, therefore I am absolutely positive that I will be all that I need to be, accomplish all that I need to accomplish, in my own time, at my own rate, because I can be anything I want to be, at the right time!