We all have abilities, resources and a role to play in this life. Sometimes we squander our resources, abuse our abilities and misunderstand our role. My experience has been that we eventually figure life out, or at least most of us do. Sometimes we figure it out too late in life, but we figure it out.
Our abilities include knowledge, wisdom, physical strength, dexterity, and skills. You can probably add to my list of abilities, but that is my top five. Then we have resources like time, money, family, relationships, and inheritance. Feel free to add to my list, but these are my top five.
I was thinking about these lists and had an interesting thought develop. Of the five resources, I have some control over 4 of them. I can make, steal, or earn money. I can change my family, develop or end relationships, and even influence an inheritance. What I cannot do is change time. How about my abilities? I can obtain knowledge, develop wisdom, increase physical strength, improve dexterity and acquire skills. When all my theoretical talking ends, I realize that I cannot buy time and cannot control many of the hazards of life.
When my father was in his 80s, he would tell me that I would gain wisdom over time and would reach a point when I would realize that I should have listened earlier in life. Never knew what that meant until I reached 75 years of age. One day, I heard myself telling one of my children that same thing. I stopped with a slight chill thinking where have I heard this speech before. Yep, it was my father.
For 75 years I have been gathering information about life, and gradually I could see a stop sign ahead. I am not able to calculate how far away it is or what is beyond it, but for the first time, I can see it. With that clarity, I can also see a road out in front of me. Along the way, I met a therapist that told me an analogy of several roads that I could travel down. There are my road and several side roads where I can see friends and family traveling on. Sometimes I am tempted to divert to their road and often get lost. Now I have this clarity about my road.
Sometimes it takes a swift kick in the pants, my father would say, to wake us up. About five years ago I got that swift kick. When I look back on life, for many years I thought I had time to enjoy life. I thought I had all the abilities and resources I needed to make it up the next step. The swift kick was in the form of a diagnosis of a muscle disease. I spent three years going through the five stages of grief before I accepted several interesting challenges in life. My abilities and resources were no longer infinite, and they would diminish over time. Add to this the fact that I can now see a stop sign off in the distance and I develop a real appreciation of time.
I am luckier than many recipients of a swift kick. My kick in the pants was a gentle nudge. I still had abilities and resources. Not everybody gets that luxury. Now I add this to my wisdom bag, why wait so many years for the kick in the pants?
What are you waiting for?