My best friend recently suggested we should pretend we’ll live to 150. That way, regardless of our age, no one will raise an eyebrow when we talk about starting a new endeavor. I’ve been thinking the same thing. As long as we’re still breathing, why not keep exploring new horizons?
I realized how important it is to take advantage of time, regardless of what lies ahead and behind, when I was on a trip to Hawaii. In the first half of my stay, I was open to adventure. I was curious, and I drank in the sights, sounds, and smells of the islands. I woke up every day with a sense of anticipation, wondering what new adventures were ahead of me; time was a clean slate, to be written anew each day.
I noticed a shift as I passed the halfway point of my trip. A tinge of loss crept into my thoughts as more time was behind than ahead of me. My thoughts drifted to what awaited me at home and my workaday world. That sense of exploration was intruded on by thoughts of my well-worn path. What a colossal waste to turn my back on the possibilities all around me.
Life can be like that–we lose our sense of newness and adventure. It’s easy to think the path we chose at the beginning of adulthood is carved in stone and there’s little new to uncover about our talents or skills.
I’m an online instructor with American Military University and often encounter non-traditional students who are working and raising families. Many are hesitant or apologetic about going back to school in their 30s, 40s or 50s. They’re worried the right time may have passed or they lack abilities because they didn’t start college immediately out of high school. That’s a waste, too.
The truth about school is that with life experience we bring more to the table. Wisdom, judgment, and broader perspective come with years. I believe we grow more equipped to understand the implications of education, not less.
Think I’m too idealistic? My brother didn’t become a doctor-his dream job-until he was in his 50s. My neighbor, in her 40s, is in law school. And my best friend, a 50-something, is talking about entering the seminary. You know stories like this, too. They’re memorable because we see in ourselves that same potential to continue being bold and adventurous.
Do you think mid-autumn, when classes have already started, is the wrong time to be contemplating school? It’s not. In the online world, a new semester starts when you are ready for it.
It’s never too late to explore unseen horizons, try something new, and uncover undeveloped talents. We live in an era that invites us to keep growing and we don’t even have to pretend we’re going to live to 150. Fall in love, live on a boat, launch a new career, or go back to school. Whatever is calling you, go for it. It’s never too late.
About the Author
Kim Bessolo, a former military spouse of 20 years, has taught first year students at AMU since 2004. She holds a Master’s in Education, a graduate certificate in online teaching, and participates in university initiatives related to her field whenever possible.