For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
~Fr. Alfred D’Souza
I have spent a great deal of my life feeling as though I am on the verge of something. This may seem rather narcissistic, but I feel as though I am destined for greatness. I’m sure that some would find it strange to have those words come out of someone’s mouth – let alone a mediocre dancer, stay-at-home mom, and blooming writer. However, I have often felt this simmering sense that there is an existence out there, just out of reach.. that will present itself to me when the moment is right.
I have always been of the philosophy that life is too short to spend it doing things that you don’t want to do. There have been times in my life that I have taken this a little too seriously – avoiding the responsibilities of life – but inevitably I come to my senses and realize how important some of the simple tasks of life are, and that it is the compilation of those little efforts that create the sum total of who I am. Even so, you won’t find me joyfully cleaning. I will look upon my efforts when I am through with a sense of accomplishment and take a moment to be proud of myself, but otherwise it is just a chore to be done.
When I focus on other parts of my life, however, I see a trend toward the creative. Growing up I used to imagine that I would be the next Charles M. Shultz, devouring every Peanuts compilation I could get my hands on. I still have some of the original books put together. They aren’t in the greatest shape, because I have read them over and over – but it definitely touched me in some way. I came to find out at an early age that I’m not that great an artist – at least, of the painting/drawing/sculpture kind. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t thousands of my drawings wasting away in some landfill. I realized at some point my talent did not lie in that particular area and so I shelved my watercolors, pencils, and brushes to pursue other avenues.
I’m not going to regale you with the countless other activities I have tried, but I do want to share with you a mindset that keeps me going. People are so caught up in doing and being the best, that they often overlook that being the best has its own responsibilities, worries, and issues. It is alright to be middle of the road in something, and if you love to do it – why not do it just for passion’s sake. Your own personal best is just that… your own. We set ourselves up for disappointment when we constantly compare our progress to others.
I am an older dancer. I came upon ballet later in life and I have had to accept that there are things I will never be able to do. However, I refuse to look at the other dancers as anything more than motivation to keep doing my best. I can appreciate their beauty and grace, their skills and ability, without jealousy or taking a hit to my self-esteem. I wish everyone could share this perspective. I really think so many people hold themselves back and away from things that would make them truly happy, out of worry over how they look and that they aren’t the best.
Later never exists… there are opportunities that come that may never show their face to us again in this lifetime. Don’t let fear stop you from achieving your own personal best.
You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.