Readiness. I have a friend named Joan. She is eighty-four years old but looks much younger, and is a stunner, and feisty. She is going to get her B.A. this year, or maybe next year, if she keeps up her studies. She says she thought about going back to college five years ago, but just wasn’t ready. She’s getting A’s in her classes, but the digital parking meters on campus are a challenge.
I love Joan, and not just because she’s a symbol of never-too-late. It’s never too late to begin, to start over, to reinvent, to become. It’s never too late to bloom and re-bloom. We are not flowers, it turns out. There isn’t one beginning, one peak, and one denouement in this life. There are many. So many. We change, we grow, we evolve, we transform. We flourish and flourish again and again if we keep going.
I don’t mind the flourishing and the re-flourishing, but the keeping going is rough sometimes. Sometimes it’s so hard to just say: “Today I am not flourishing, today is a keep going day, not a flourishing day.” On those days the list of things to do, if I’m in my right mind, looks less like, “Resolve finances, complete novel, get another degree, bake muffins,” and more like, “wash dishes, eat breakfast.”
I’m not a flower. And I’m not an avocado either – hard as a rock one day, totally green, inedible, and then a day later rotting, ready for compost. There’s time. Flourishing is happening, especially if I don’t fight it and don’t chase it. The keep going days are part of the flourishing. Like a song with a great chorus wouldn’t be so great if it were only chorus, over and over again, no verses, no bridge.
I see that in Joan’s life and I see it in my own life too, if I look. There are verses between the choruses. I’m gonna sing those parts too.