Does my calendar tell me that I’m 28 already? This has to be a bad dream. What have I done with my life? What happened to the 5-year-long-term-goals at 21? I had a perfect picture for my life at 26. I can’t possibly be 28! Wake me please!
You’re kidding right? At least, you’re 28. Just 28? You’re definitely the luckiest woman alive right now. I’m 40 in 2 months and the only thing I feel for myself is hate. I feel so over! At 40, still on the same job I promised to leave 5 years ago, no particular savings, and dead old goals. Kill me already. My life is over!
Okay, pause! Take a deep breath… let’s start afresh. No clear achievement at 28? That definitely has to be a bad dream. Dead goals at 40? Hate is an understatement. On behalf of these two ladies, let’s all agree that there’s nothing as regretful as an ‘unused’ period of time.
As scary as their plights seem though, it’s pretty ironic that both women are looking at the wrong sides of the clock. While miss A is all on and about her nightmare, Miss B seems to be subconsciously figuring a way out for her. ‘She’s 28. That’s a long way to correct her time mistakes and possibly achieve those goals’. That’s it! Good for Miss A, right? So what happens to Miss B, the on-behalf-of-another planner? Who will figure out a way for her, that’s if there is a way at all?
Well, it would seem that figuring a way out for Miss B is not the problem, neither is Miss A’s unfriendly calendar. Shit happens. Now, having unaccomplished goals at 40 is not the kind of shit that should be encouraged. That shouldn’t even happen, but then guess what? It happened. Do you put a gun to your head? No. One thing is certain, those 39-years-and-10-months won’t come back. So when it happens, take some time to mourn them if it would make you feel better. But I really would rather that you did not spend or ‘unuse’ more time regretting moments you can’t get back. I’ve learnt, over the years, that there’s nothing as annoyingly time wasting and saddening as regretting a mistake or wishing you could have done something better. Of course, there would always be such moments, but seeing that your regrets can’t change anything or get back the lost chances, why not just push forward and make conscious efforts at making things right? Apparently, age is not the problem for Miss A or Miss B. the shaky possibility of getting a second shot at the lost chances is. Miss B is thinking to herself “if I could get back just 12 years, I would make everything right. I could be Oprah!”
Sorry, life isn’t giving you back the 12 years. Guess what life is doing, it’s sipping coffee at your expense. And life isn’t the only one that will refuse to give you a second chance, lots of people will. They probably would fear that you would only end up wasting their time the way you wasted yours. So what will you do? Sulk the rest of your life, blaming everyone and everything for not supporting your request of a second chance? No way! If life isn’t giving you a second chance, go ahead and give yourself one. Yes, give yourself a second chance. So what if you’re 40? Did age cost you your ability to make resolutions and smarter life decisions? Did it cost you the knowledge to actively go about those steps? No. So why are you asking life for a second chance that’s right in front of you? That’s you giving life milk and sugar to make the coffee even more nourishing.
Or let me guess, you lost the drive? You’re wondering ‘how could you possibly have some passion left at 40?’ The deal is you’re probably spending on regrets the much energy that you need in rebuilding your passion. I recently realized how much of a mess I’ve made by not paying much attention to a savings plan all these years. Not just a savings plan, I realized I had missed out on a lot of things: great books, events and other sorts. Maybe I forgot I would end up growing past 18. Well, rather than wait for ‘another opportunity’ to make things right, I am creating strings of such opportunities for myself. I am giving myself second shots at each detail I missed.
There’s a favourite Chinese proverb I’ve grown to love over the years: ‘the best time to plant tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now’. You’re not too old. Yes, I know that sounds awkward for a 40-in-2-months-old woman, but hey, I have a strong conviction that you’re not too old. See, I just became your no. 1 fan. Cut off the lost years from your thoughts, they’re no longer yours. Wear your I-can-do-bad-all-by-myself grin and snatch that cup of coffee out of life’s hand. Yes, look time in the face and ring it loud in its ears that you’re giving yourself a second chance!