None of us wants to think that it’s too late. It doesn’t even matter what the specific topic is, from careers to fitness, health to happiness, it’s hard to accept when they’ve gone forever and ain’t never comin back. I remember this feeling pretty distinctly and from a young age, it was probably around 19 that it first started occurring to me that certain paths were no longer available to me on this road of life. I was a Firefighter in the Air Force back in those days, and one nondescript day found me watching American football on AFN (Armed Forces Network) television in the break room of Fire Station 3. It was watching the cheerleaders that sent my brain into the realisation that I’d never be a football player or a sports star of any sort.
What did cheerleaders have to do with anything? Getting older affords us the opportunity to watch the younger generations fill in the blanks behind us, in front of us, all around us. One of the biggest mantras of my childhood was “you are the future,” as if the rest of the world was working to ensure our preparedness to lead, “possible is anything” and “rock the vote!” had us believing that we could make a difference. At some point, “the future is no longer you” and “possible are some things,” not that these weren’t the truths of our lives from the beginning anyway. I hold no grudges against these institutionalised idealisms taught to us via classrooms and cartoons, these lessons help to keep life decisions in perspective with the whole.
At some point, I believed anything was possible. On a road of many branches, I chose this path and this path chose me. It can be painful to think about the fact that I’ll never be a quarterback for an NFL team, surgeon, nor scientist. If I take the time to remember that on some level, whatever the odds might have been in favor of or against any of these things successfully happening, I chose not to be a quarterback, surgeon, nor scientist – the pain does subside.
It’s much more difficult to be envious of other people once you’ve decided that you do not want anything that they have. That’s all I’m saying.