The Doors of Perception
They say you always regret the chances you didn’t take.
But do we, always?
Recently, a new muse of mine told me about a conversation she had with a friend who is an FBI agent. My muse imagined for a “why not me” moment what it would be like to be an FBI agent, and said as much to her friend. Her friend then said this:
“It’s too late for you.”
The way I heard it, once you turn 40, the FBI won’t consider your application. (note, not fact checked, and not the point of the story, so don’t get stuck here. Read on.)
This statement got me spinnnnnning — not into an argument about ageism, but more about if this could compromise my whole better than my day before mission. I have been writing about and living my “why not me” lifestyle since just shy of my 40th birthday. Had I instead let it be too late for me, I wouldn’t have gotten my Master’s degree. Or my personal training certification. Or be 2 weeks away from becoming a registered yoga teacher (my 200 hour RYT credential). Or for my who-knows-what-else-is-next.
As far as I am concerned, it would be the FBI’s loss after all my gains; at 43, I am in the best shape of my life physically and mentally and I make it my intention to stay that way. And as far as being “too late” in general for anything that might be in my next, I trust that my “why not me” soul and my where-there-is-a-will-there-is-a-way skills can find the necessary perspective to enable me to pick the lock of any door that tries to close on me.
But… this is an example of something that meant nothing to me, so it is easy for me to see this positive “their loss” perspective. But what about other things? Are there things I might want to do out there that I will be too late for, that I can’t approach from a different side to still sneak in? Things that blind my perspective instead of challenge it? Things that I will feel are my loss?
Bringing in the elephant in the room. The most obvious “It’s too late for you” moment in a woman’s life is when she can no longer have babies. From what I have experienced, this is a shock to the system even to women who don’t want any more children or never wanted children. It’s a Big Deal to the most of the many.
Now, most of you know I (am an aunt to many but ) have no children of my own. And some of you who I have been lucky enough to have in my life for a long time know that this wasn’t always our plan (but it certainly seemed to be someone else’s). Long story short (or not, click here), Matt and I tried for many years to have kids. We did everything short of IVF, and miscarried twice. We decided that we were fine without having kids of our own, and that (at least for then and maybe forever) adoption / fostering weren’t part of our plans. (I say this because the second you tell someone your “I can’t have kids” story they always remind you that this is an option — for you — in case you didn’t know?!?.)
Recently we revisited this. Having gone way down together to miserable, and now enjoying being in our up, and our older, I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss a mind change. Because the “It’s too late for you” door in this instance will lock and throw away the key (outside of opting for one of the aforementioned alternatives). So I checked in with myself, and with Matt, slightly scared — what if our subconscious(es) didn’t agree? Because for me, my message — my vision — was loud and clear: when I look at my world, I am content. I do not see any empty seats for a future kid at our table. I see a full house and feel fulfilled. And I am actually grateful and relieved that I don’t have children of my own. (Yes, I said that, not to offend, but because it’s true and my blog doesn’t bullshit.) And thankfully Matt feels the same way.
I believe some of us are meant to be mothers; and those of you who are mothers (among your many other roles), I admire you more than you will ever know for filling our future world with good people. But I also choose to believe that some of us are meant not to be mothers and we are supposed to be something else. And although I am still seeing what exactly my something is, I don’t doubt it is — I am — and we all are — something special that the world needs.
I don’t even really think I met myself until almost 40. Anything I was or am too late for at this point I honestly wouldn’t have been ready for if I was on time. And that includes having kids. (And the FBI.)
I refuse to let “too late” be my mindset; instead, I choose to look for the doors that lead to infinite possibilities. And I don’t (and hopefully you won’t) regret the chances I didn’t take.
I am too busy enjoying the ones I am taking now.
Originally published at jenpearllewellensblog.com on May 25, 2017.