Is it Time?

Have you ever asked yourself if now is the time?

You know the kinds of things we obsess about… making a major purchase or career change, having a child, or taking that trip you’ve been wanting to take, or calling that friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to your heart.

The good news is most things aren’t a now-or-never decision. However, the bad news might be unless you are thoughtful and deliberate; time could get away from you and you might not be able to do that “thing” you want to do.

Take me for instance, I was a cheerleader – not an athlete. I was the bookworm – not the adrenaline junkie. I didn’t even like to ride a bike. That is until later in life… much later in life!  Once I let myself think out of the box and was able to get away from the “coulda, shoulda and woulda” sisters, I discovered just how fun life could be.

Just a nudge

I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who are much more adventuresome than I was earlier in life. I didn’t necessarily need a push; I just needed a nudge!  In the past few years, I have been like an eagle, learning to soar, literally as I have parasailed, white water rafted, and snorkeled. This is someone who wouldn’t even get her face wet in the shower.  I have zip-lined in Costa Rica and the Red River Gorge, and hit the bulls-eye with a bow and arrow on my first shot.

I’ve ridden a camel on the way up to the pyramids and rode a dune buggy in the sand dunes of Dubai. I shared my cup of coffee with a giraffe in Nairobi.  I experienced the Maasai Mara’s life cycle up close and personal. On one hand, I witnessed multiple live births and babies nursing, while on the other hand I watched animals being sustenance for others. Instead of death and despair, I watched in awe and realized how much these beautiful animals could teach us: to leverage the strengths of those around you, take only what you need, never waste, look out for the weakest and the youngest of the tribe, and never give up.

I danced with a native tribe in Africa as the village chief graciously offered me a delicacy of goat’s milk and blood. I hiked in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (and it was impenetrable) to not only see, but to also get bumped on the leg by a baby gorilla being watched closely by Mom and Dad.

Did I mention I was the reserved, responsible, 24×7 workaholic that planned for tomorrow without living for today?  I count myself as blessed and fortunate on so many fronts. I have worked hard but before it was too late, I realized it was time and learned how to play.

I can remember going to a Corporate “charm” school when I was about 30 years old. You know those places where they send you to learn, but they’re really learning about you? I was asked to fill out a questionnaire before the session. The purpose was to have me select one of several activities as to how I wanted to spend my free afternoon. Lovely options for most: golf, tennis, bowling, sightseeing, etc.

I will never forget the moment when I realized I didn’t do – nor did I know how to do – any of those things.  I don’t remember what I did that afternoon, but it would have been like me to hide out in my room and work. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson then, and became a “live life for today” kind of gal from that day forward. Sorry, wrong person and wrong story!

Instead it took me another 10+ years before I realized it was time. What I eventually learned, thankfully before it was too late, was that it didn’t have to be an either/or … either work or play. Instead, I adopted and since then, have successfully lived a “live for today while planning or tomorrow” outlook.

Life needs a little adventure

I will admit Covid has cramped my outwardly focused experiences, however, I’ve managed to keep being adventurous in a different way.  I’m learning how to use Zoom as if I was in a room connecting with people I love to be with. Thanks to support from a lot of wonderful people, I have (as you know) launched JC’s Corner on my website, JMClark.com to share my latest blogs. I am turning what were once in-person, courses and workshops into virtual offerings. I am 25% done with my first book and working on the second. I know now, more than ever, it’s time…

So, my parting thought is …  no matter how young you are or how many years you’ve been on this earth, whether you are an introvert or extrovert, whether you’ve been the observer or the participant – you get to decide what the rest of today, tomorrow and next year will look like. Just look what I would have missed if I had not escaped from “coulda, shoulda, woulda” land.

As country music singer, Garth Brooks sings in The Dance, “Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have to miss the dance.”  I am so glad I didn’t miss the dance!  I’d love to hear what you decide to do now that you know the time is right!

 

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