There’s a quote that I love by George Elliot, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
When I became pregnant at 15, I had been planning to finish high school, go to college and study Biology. I loved the idea of looking for answers to great mysteries. By the time I gave birth to my daughter, I had decided to put college on hold, get married and become a stay at home mom. I married her father and we lived with my parents while I finished high school.
Two years later, while going through a divorce, I applied at a local university. I was accepted, but things didn’t work out for me to attend at the time. I had other opportunities to further my education over the next several years, but life had always ended up getting in the way.
I remarried and had two more children. I worked a variety of jobs over the years, but I never had something I would call a “career”. Even so, I have few regrets that I haven’t made it to college. Life and experience have taught me more valuable lessons: lessons about myself, about my strengths and my weaknesses.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about great mysteries; maybe not the ones I dreamed of answering years ago, but the ones our children can teach us. How you can forgive your children every time they disobey you and not hold it against them. More importantly, how they forgive you for using them as the subjects in an experiment called Learning How to Parent. My daughter has just recently moved out on her own. She sent me a thank you note telling me how much she appreciates us. I still find it hard to believe that she thinks we did a good job.
I also learned, that because I had a child while still in high school, I can understand the struggles young people go through. It has given me a much more merciful view of the people that many may consider “the fallen ones”. There is a verse in the Bible in the book of Psalms that I think of often, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”
I am less sure now of what I want to be when I grow up. For a long time, I have dreamed of starting a home for teen moms. Taking classes that could help me meet that goal is appealing. I still have an intense interest in science, but can live it vicariously through my children’s love for the unknown.
I think this life is too short to put off doing what you know you should be doing. I’m still not sure what it is I should be doing. So, while I stumble along I pray that I will be able to be compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. I tell myself, it’s never too late to be what I might have been.
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