Last Saturday after we finished my Book Launch, I joined two of the women who helped host the event in the kitchen as they were finishing putting away the food.
“We were just talking about how brave you are to go on those journeys by yourself,” LaVerne told me.
“Yeah, we don’t think we could do that,” Judy added.
I get that response a lot.
“Well, if you really wanted to go on a journey by yourself, you could. You just have to start small,” I responded. “And you can always provide yourself a way out– a safety, if you don’t like how things are going. That’s what I’ve done.”
I think I suggested that ‘starting small’ could be going to someplace close by for a day– spending the time alone and moving as the Spirit leads you– without an agenda or traveling companions. But what I know is that we all feel pulled or ‘called’ to do different things based on our history, our personalities, how we’re hardwired. I didn’t know that taking solo journeys would lead me to more of myself– that part that’s independent and likes adventure. In Chapter VIII of the book where I trace my mother’s steps back to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “The History Tour,” I discovered that Mama and I shared that adventurous spirit. It was the first time I realized that about myself.
My hope, is that readers of my book look inside themselves to see what may be calling them, to discover the ‘desires of their hearts.’ It’s never too late to pursue those dreams that have been buried inside.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, almost nineteen years ago, I was writing a novel with the working title Late Bloomers. In that story, the main character (who was really too much like me!) was forty-five and felt stuck in mid-life. She saw herself trapped in a routine of taking care of others with no life for herself. She’d joined a support group to try and figure out how to get unstuck.
Once I was hit with the shocking news of cancer, I put down that story because my real life was more like fiction than that novel I was writing. I saw other people around me during those middle years dealing with their own shocking news: spouses walking out, children with significant problems, aging parents needing their care.
In Chapter VI, when I was on my solo journey to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, I took a Sunday afternoon to visit Polly Hill Arboretum. It’s not a place I’d usually visit on a trip– figuring that I could see something similar at home. But that day I was ‘pulled’ to that place and marveled to learn that Polly Hill had started that arboretum in 1958 when she was fifty years old.
While fifty doesn’t seem old now, in 1958 she would have appeared to be an old woman. I can only imagine that people would question her starting such an ambitious project at that late age, in that season of life. But she couldn’t see ahead that she would live to be one hundred and would make a significant contribution to botanical research.
Polly Hill had a vision and it started with one seed, and then another, and then another. She didn’t let her age interfere with moving toward her dream.
The dream I’ve kept inside is writing and publishing a book. I think it’s rather ironic that the novel I started, Late Bloomers, may apply to me with publishing my first book at age sixty-four.
It’s never too late to step toward your dream– no matter your age. Sometimes on Twitter I use the hashtag #stepforwardfromcancer and then add, ‘or whatever holds you back.’ My hope is to encourage people to move toward their desires, whatever they are, and take steps to realize those dreams that have been dormant. Allowing yourself to be a beginner and just start, will increase your confidence to take the next step, and the next.
Those dreams may change over time given your life situation, but to have a dream, is to have hope. And to realize your dream will provide you with deep satisfaction.
How About You?
What is your dream at this time in your life?
What step can you take toward that dream in the next week?
I welcome you all to purchase my book through Amazon. Here’s the link: