This I Believe

Julie - Pebble Beach, California
Entered on October 30, 2006

Clarity

My most cherished memory, the one that marks the beginning of time for me, is the moment I first laid eyes on my child. It was a few minutes after midnight on January 25, 1978. He was, as most mothers would say about their own children, flawless. Tiny and vulnerable yet with a life force so strong I felt it run through me like a current as I held him against me. The next thing I remember is falling into the deepest sleep I’ve ever had. The exhaustion was absolute. I was 16 years old.

I am now approaching 46 and able to reflect on my glorious life of struggle, joy, laughter, heartache and self-realization. My beautiful boy is now 28 years old and making his way in the world. Much as I did, he’s fumbling and searching for the right path, making mistakes of his own. As for me, I have a wonderful life that even I could not have conjured in the vivid world of my own mind. I can look back on the events of my life with a magnifying glass of hard-won wisdom and see with clarity my flaws as a parent, as a human being. I relish in the fact that I’ve made it this far! My decision to put my own personal needs in cold storage for a while in order to fulfill a promise was not only worth it, but has shaped me into the person I am today. I appreciate the smallest of wonders and know, without a doubt, that which makes me whole: my husband, my son, my family.

Round two of my life began at when I married the man who accepted me, warts and all, and allowed me to be myself. I was 41 and he was 60. My years of making mistakes, failed relationships and ignoring my inner voice led me to his doorstep. We were both searching, had both almost given up, in fact. What we learned together is how to live, how to laugh, how to be happy and how to thrive. It was like going from black and white to vivid Technicolor. I have learned things about myself that I never knew. I have a passion for writing, for telling stories. I have a yearning to learn and have realized that even without a university diploma, I’m a pretty smart cookie. I have managed to take all those hard times and think of them as an education that no amount of money could ever buy. To say that I am grateful for that knowledge is an understatement, to say the least.

There are many values that I hold dear but none are as precious as my belief in living life to your fullest potential, no matter how old, or young, you are. I believe that we are put on this earth to discover, to grow, to learn and that the journey isn’t over until we take our last breath. Quite simply, I believe it is never too late.