It’s Never Too Late

 <Dec. 31/08.>

For some reason, it came to me this morning – on the eve of what will no doubt be a very, very challenging “new year” – that I should make a list of things it’s never too late to do.

So, here goes!

1. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry about something you’re sorry about. People feel better when they apologize for doing or saying something they really wish they hadn’t done or said. Even nations have taken to making very long-awaited apologies. Margaret Lee Runbeck said “Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.” I know I feel lighter when I make a heartfelt apology, & I’ve been on the other side of the equation too; it’s almost magical how a really oppressive feeling can lift! None of us can undo the past or the hurts we’ve experienced or caused – but for sure we can apologize for them. Somehow, miraculously, apologies do mean a lot.

2. It’s never too late to explain something that needs to be explained. I think too often we assume people can just read our minds & figure out why we did or said that highly inexplicable thing we did or said. But people are not mind-readers; that’s why the human race developed verbal communication in the first place – it’s vitally needed in our increasingly complex world! Like apologies, explanations often help in a very big way to “clear the air.”

3. It’s never too late to say “I love you” to someone to whom you have for some reason never said these highly important words.

4. It’s never too late to say “Thank you!” for something you feel really grateful for – even if something has kept you from doing so for years & years & years. We all need very much to feel appreciated for what we do, & who we are, & although we can get along without these thank-you’s, they certainly do enrich our lives greatly!

5. It’s never too late to “grow up.” Little kids, I think, look at teen-agers & conceive of them as “grown ups.” As we get older, we keep pushing the age of “grown up” later & later – at any rate, older than we currently are. I’m 55 as I write this, & I recall thinking with some surprise one time in my late 40’s, “Holy Smokes – I’m all grown up!!” Then, as the years kept rolling by & I moved into my 50’s, I became quite convinced I didn’t really grow up until post-50. I reckon we all have some growing to do, right up until the day we die. So…it’s never too late to grow up – or just plain do some growing

6. It’s never too late to forgive someone you believe has wronged you, however grievous you perceive the wrong to be. Of course, the main benefactor from this forgiveness is going to be not the person who transgressed, but you yourself. Holding onto resentments & bitterness is pretty much like poisoning yourself from the inside out. Letting go of them, on the other hand (one of those things in life that is usually somewhat easier said than done, & just possibly accomplished more easily with a wee bit of prayer)(1) is a lightening & releasing exercise.

7. It’s never too late to learn new things & meet new people. We can never know everything there is to know, & the potential for emotional insights & learning seems to be pretty much infinite too. Provided we remain open all our lives to learning & understanding, we’re then in a better position to do some of those other previously-mentioned things it’s never too late to do (growing, forgiving, saying thank you or I’m sorry, etc.).

8. It’s never too late to start telling the truth – developing a commitment to greater honesty & openness. I’m not quite sure what it is that keeps so many of us from being more open. Hmm. Fear, I suppose. Me, I’m excessively open – the type who spills her guts to complete strangers at bus stops. The cool thing is, I have oodles of friends, & when I’m down, they offer me much-needed support. Or a meal. Or a job. Or…whatever… In my world, being open really pays off. Ask yourself “What do I have to lose?” – & then, take a chance & open up…

9. It’s never too late to throw your hat into the ring of world-changing. Can I guarantee you the human race will even exist 100 years from now? Shoot – 50 years from now. No M’am, I cannot. Things are not looking so great, hmmm? However, here is what I can guarantee: healing work/volunteer work/activism are great for your mind & soul/spirit. You meet great people, make new friends, learn new stuff, & get a real sense of achievement when you work on things you feel passionate about. Even people who’ve never thought of themselves as “creative” can turn out to be very creative indeed when it comes to good ideas & projects to do with things they really care about.

At the very least, give it a bash. What do you have to lose?? As I’ve said elsewhere, the very best possible antidote to despair is action… Despair & apathy are energy-drainers – action is an energy-booster.

10. Well – I might just as well make it an even 10, hmm? It’s never too late to… change your life…change your attitude…heal your life…change the world…help heal the world. Never too late to take up a transformative daily gratitude habit, walking routine, read a book or watch a film that could change your life, take up yoga &/or meditation practice &/or a meaningful volunteer commitment. So…go for it!! What do you have to lose, hmmm?           

Janet


(1)  Btw, I’m a firm believer that one does not even have to be a believer in order to make a spot in your life for prayer. Go right ahead & do it anyway; what possible harm can come of it??