I was chatting to a friend the other day about life.
‘Jess,’ she said to me, ‘Do you ever feel as if you are really slow?’
‘No, not me. I have the speed of a cheetah and the grace of a gazelle.’
She looked at me with a look to say that she understood only too well the limitations of my physical prowess and then went on to clarify, ‘slow on the uptake. Wondering if you should have worked things out years ago.’
‘Tell me more,’ I said with my best-imagined psychologist pose.
‘Well, when I left school, I had plans. And dreams. Plans and dreams. And for a myriad of reasons that are not worth documenting in a blog post, they didn’t come to fruition.’
‘Well, life isn’t over yet. You can still do stuff.’
‘I know. That’s the problem.’
Cue confused look from me.
It turns out that my friend had been offered an opportunity, which not only made good on one of those adolescent hopes, but several of them.
‘I’m failing to see why this is a problem?’ I said.
‘Oh, it’s not. It’s very cool. It’s like my second chance. It’s a new beginning. It’s the redemption of a thousand mistakes,’ she said with passion and gusto. ‘It’s just… I feel like it’s late. Or I’m late. Like I should have been here years ago.’
‘But was the opportunity available then?’
‘No, but that also seems inconsequential. I feel like I should have been ready. That I should have pursued things back when I was young and energetic and not juggling all the things I’m juggling now.’
I nodded wisely. (In my head all my nodding is wise.) I got it. I really did. There’s a version of myself that I wish still existed. That I sometimes think still does, although it’s arguably all imaginative. There are a thousand things I thought I would have done before now that I haven’t; so many opportunities I was sure I would have been afforded and yet have somehow squandered. I too, occasionally feel ‘slow.’
Our conversation ended there, more or less; I’m the kind of friend who goes away and thinks about things for too long and then realises what I should have actually said. So, you know, not as cheetah-like as I would have hoped.
Anyway, in my long, deep thought processing place, the thought occurred to me that maybe the time between the dream and the actual happening of the dream, was not wasted. Maybe it was just the watering phase. Maybe the dream was just the seed it was always supposed to be, and the years between included all the experience and life and love and failure and hope that would be needed to see things actually happen.
What if — the thought came to me — that endless string of cliches that she never said but I typed as if she did, were actually true. It wasn’t just a second chance, but it was redemption. The way the old was transformed into something new and beautiful and full and perfect.
Of course when I said all that to her a few days later it didn’t come out like that; I wish I could get the same clarity of thought with the speaking of words as I do with the writing of them, but I didn’t. So I wrote this. This blog post that’s short by EssentiallyJess standards and full of more meaning than the random things I usually come out with.
Second chances happen.
Dreams can come true.
Redemption is possible.
All things can be made new.
(Rhyming completely unplanned, but let’s go with it.)
When you’re young you think it will all happen in the way you hope it happens, and then when it doesn’t, it feels like it never will. But it doesn’t mean it’s over. In fact, it may not mean much of anything at all. It just is.
So to my friend: you’re not too old. You’re not too slow. You’re not past it. You’re in just the right place.
Ever feel slow?