It’s never too late… to reach for your dreams, to learn, to find love, to do better, to heal, to be you, and to start over, no matter how hard you have been knocked down!
This is me in my father’s arms. It looks to me like he is holding a doll, not a real baby, and certainly not me. Of course I have no memory of this moment. Yet, that look on his face is seared into my heart still. Imbedded into my spirit are words I heard him speak from his heart, as often as he could. The words,“It’s never too late,” are his words. As I reflect upon all that has changed in my life, all the impossibilities that became possible, all the times others told me “you can’t” and I said “watch me,” I know that my father and these words made a difference in my life.
My father was by no means a perfect man, however he always aimed to lift others up. He was nobody’s fool, and the first to step in to help anyone who needed it. His ever positive presence lifted others up, and when he spoke, people listened. In college, and as a young adult, he would take my friends and I out for dinner, he would say with a big warm smile “order what ever you want,” and then he would entertain and captivate the evening with his genuine interest in everyone at the table and his stories. They were stories from, as he called it, the “school of hard knocks.” They were stories meant to enlighten, encourage and help. He sincerely wanted every single person to know that they deserved a good life, no matter what they had done or been through. The stories always came wrapped in humor and the theme that one can alway change, always find new ways and always begin again. It’s never too late… to learn, to do better and to find and live the life you want.
I came into his life when he was older. I knew there were parts of his story that came before me, that helped create his deep wells of compassion. He had been through some tough situations, and helped countless family and friends out of their own tough moments. He said he had completely started over many times. He ascribed to never judge another because one could not know what they had been through. In fact, I was the result of one of those new beginnings and big life changes. I literally owe my life to the fact that this man was willing to always live big dreams and follow his heart, no matter what he had been through.
I am old enough, and have been through enough of life’s joys and hard knocks now, that I can see myself from the perspective of his words. I feel like I have lived many lives. Each one requiring bravery and an understanding that “It’s never too late”. These words linger in my head, in his voice, with his big smile and the feel of his bear hugs, telling me… It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to change. It’s ok to learn. It’s ok to do better this time. It’s ok to want better for yourself. It’s ok no matter what others may think or say about it. It’s ok to be you because you are amazing and you are on a human journey. Most of all, do not let any past misfortune define your future.
Now I am on a new adventure, one that was faintly in my wildest dreams, but I never imagined would move into real life. It was a wistful thought that would find me in quiet moments, when I allowed myself to think beyond what I thought was possible. Then I would quickly think, maybe in some other lifetime that will happen for me. I even had the voices of others confirming my fears that I could never do or have what I do now, without them even knowing this faint dream in my soul. Yet here I am, living it and happily sweating out all the details each day. I am more ready than I have ever been to live better, smarter, and in more truth, trust, and hope. I have more hints of more dreams to come and still thirst for knowledge, understanding, connections, peace, and compassion despite many “hard knocks.” I will fight the good fight, and keep going no matter how bad it seems in any moment because I know, “It’s never too late.”
My Father has been gone for a couple of decades now, but I love to share his words of hope and encouragement. Know that “It’s never too late” to reach for your dreams, to learn, to find love, to be you, to heal, and to start again, no matter how hard you have been knocked down. No matter your circumstance, they can and will change.
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