This piece was written for this week’s Food4ThoughtFriday #111,  the thought provoking meme hosted by May & Floss, and its theme is Words to Live By.

[7.5 minute read]


The words of wisdom I’m sharing with you, my readers have come to me through a health scare, bereavement and a desire for my children to live their best lives.

 

Life is not a Dress Rehearsal

 

If you lack confidence, or are a people pleaser (like me) you have to shake yourself up with this mantra, otherwise you’ll keep out of the limelight,  waiting in the wings and let the louder, more brash people take your turn. Opportunities can pass you by because you feel apprehensive about taking a leap / making that change. 

 

Risk is scary, new places, people and experiences can feel overwhelming, but if you don’t force yourself to experience these you’ll always wonder what they would have been like and you won’t grow. As a curious toddler or primary (elementary) pupil you are forced to try new things all the time. You integrate with new people and embrace fresh ideas and concepts. This doesn’t hurt you, instead  it enriches you. Remind yourself of that when going to foreign places or meeting strangers. Embrace every opportunity, each will shape you, you’ll learn from every one (even the discovery that you don’t like it!)

 

It’s true that ‘Time Waits for No Man’. If you waste or defer the opportunity to experience something, that door may close and you may never be in a position to try again. I’m not advocating doing things which are dangerous – risking health or your financial security – but calculate the risk. Should you really wimp out / let this pass you by? 

 

As a parent I let many experiences and opportunities slide saying my time was better spent with my children, but ask yourself if this is the truth or an excuse? Sometimes our children enjoy boasting about us:  the races we have run, challenges we have faced, places we’ve visited and people we’ve rubbed shoulders with. Much of parenting is providing a strong supportive background for your kids, but you don’t want to become part of the background surely!


I like to encourage young, up-and-coming people around me to capitalise on their skills and talents. I know well how praise boosts confidence, putting wind under their wings, which helps these fledglings fly. I wish I had recognised my talents sooner and pressed to include them in my career path. Society puts a high value on youth and attractiveness, but at the stage in life when they are in bountiful supply, many young people don’t have the self-belief to utilise them. Let’s actively encourage and build up the young people we know so they cash in on these traits before they dissipate. As a middle-aged woman I’ve felt ‘invisibility’ and ‘irrelevance’ creeping up on me; although I strive hard to rise above this, some social norms are hard to fight.


The phrase ‘Tiger Mother’ does not truly apply to me, although I am fiercely proud of my offspring. Instead I have let them grow and develop at their own pace and in directions which suit their personality and skill set. However, I don’t want to let them ‘settle’. I want assurance that they’ve done their best in any endeavour; presenting the most shiny, polished version of themselves or their work to any challenge was set (homework, project, exam, prom, interview). This way, whatever the result or outcome, both they and I could be satisfied that they had given their very best. Boys have a tendency to coast, while girls can strive and burn themselves out too soon, so I’ve needed to temper those attitudes.

 

While was busy applying my mantra to my child-rearing, suddenly in my mid 40s I was blindsided by a life-threatening illness. My first source of distress was not wanting to leave them, I needed to know “what happens next?” in future chapters of their lives. Later thoughts were “I’ve hardly done anything” and “I haven’t been anywhere!” 

 

Fate was kind to me, an operation has meant that I’m still here with my family. I have been given more time, so I don’t intend to waste it. I hope you can see why (despite my occasional anxiety) I don’t allow myself to duck out of doing something which scares me, why I embrace new experiences, new people and places with such enthusiasm.

 

Writing had only been a childhood dream until that health scare, but during my recuperation I started a novel. It’s nowhere near finished, in fact it’s shelved because I find shorter pieces more my speed. Putting stories or posts on my blog or a writing platform (such as Bellesa or FrolicMe) means they see the light of day – no procrastination from me about publication. I have a story in print now, thanks to the Eroticon anthology ‘Discovery’. Next I’ve promised myself I’ll self publish a collection of my short stories. 

 

Sharing images of myself on my blog is scary (Mr Churchgate barely approves, shuddering to think what our children’s take would be). It has, however, helped my confidence a lot – people say such appreciative things which kicks ‘middle aged invisibility’ in the arse! I’ve even come to terms with my scar (which of course saved my life). I think you’ll see more of me and my selfie stick.

 

I was at a funeral very recently, a memorial to celebrate a young life lived to the fullest. Every goal was strategically tackled and attained. A raft of admiring colleagues came to pay tribute to a marvellous team player while we, the close family, mourned the loss of this bright source of light and love from our lives. Everyone present will miss the way this person touched their lives, but nobody could say that it was a life wasted – cut short, yes – but lived to the fullest.

 

So to sum up dear friends, Carpe Diem / Seize the Moment,  because: 

 

Life is not a Dress Rehearsal

 

 

This piece is also submitted for #wickedwednesday. The prompt this week is ‘Lucky’ which is appropriate as I count myself very lucky to still be here, living my best life.

Comments (29)

  1. Reply

    This is a wonderful post Posy and I know how private you are so appreciate you sharing yourself here in this post – This really hit home with me –
    “Society puts a high value on youth and attractiveness, but at the stage in life when they are in bountiful supply, many young people don’t have the self-belief to utilise them.”
    This is so true – youth is wasted on the young 😉 so like you I like to boast youngsters – always hoping they will reach their potential as it is only now in my life that I finally think I am.
    Thanks for linking this to F4T – it’s a thought provoking read x

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Thanks for such great, understanding feedback May. I felt the need speak out about this so others don’t unlock their potential until later in life, as you and I have. But – to coin another phrase – Better Late Than Never!

  2. Vlad_Lioncourt

    Reply

    Wonderful post Posy. Heartfelt and entirely accurate. Ah, the truth in the adage, “Wisdom comes with age.”

    A must read for the middle aged…

    Thank you.

  3. Reply

    I try so much to keep similar thoughts in my head when it comes to meeting my needs to getting what I want. Some things can be passed on, but if I let fear stop me how much will I miss? Wise words here, Posy

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Absolutely understand Cara, thanks for your feedback. When you put a proper value on yourself, I think other’s treat you with more respect too.

  4. Reply

    How beautiful those words are. I too have felt afraid to step out and take advantage of life. I do hope you share more photos, more life experiences and keep at that novel.

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Thank you PS – lets both aspire to be brave. I dunno about that novel, I like my smutty tales better!

  5. Reply

    I totally agree that we should live our lives to the fullest, and I wish I had more guts when I was younger to do things that I now can’t do anymore. That said, I have to say that I don’t regret anything that has come on my path, as I wouldn’t have been the person I am today had I not gone through all that.

    Rebel xox

    • p0sy

      Reply

      That’s a valid point Marie, and I echo it. No regrets is an important codecil – I admire the person you are now – shaped by life.

  6. Reply

    I often feel like I’m on ‘borrowed time’ and try to live life as if it’s not a dress rehearsal! It’s tiring sometimes to be brave though. Thank you for this post and words of wisdom.

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Yes – that’s exactly how I feel nowadays, and yes it can be tiring and sometimes feel against my nature (which is a little laid back) so I try to strike a balance -not forcing myself to wring every last drop of fun from life but making my experiences meaningful. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

  7. Reply

    Wise words indeed Posy, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us for F4TF, especially as they were prompted by something that is personal to your own life. I realised quite early on in life that regardless of age, health and the plans you have life can be swept away from you suddenly. With that in mind, I’ve always tried to live a life I’m happy with. I don’t always take the opportunities I should, or make things happen in the way I could, but I have very few regrets and I am enjoying experiences that will definitely make me smile in my old age, if I am blessed to get that far, which I pray to all the Gods I do. I think one of the things on my todo list, that I will regret if I don’t do more of, well any of in fairness, lol) is meeting up with fellow bloggers! So I’ll be badgering folks like yourself in 2020 to co-ordinate diaries with me for coffee and cake interludes between our busy blogging and life schedules :p xxx

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Thanks Floss, I knew you’d get it / already be in tune with my thinking. I pray you get to cram in a whole raft of wonderful experiences and enjoy flipping through the memories in your ripe old age too!

      Indeed I would like to crunch diaries with you for a meet up – lets do it soon xx

  8. Reply

    Oh yes I completely agree with your summation . . . “seize the moment” . . . we should all have the freedom to live our lives to the full.
    Wonderful post Posy.
    Xxx – K

  9. Reply

    This is wonderful, Posy. Very wise words indeed, and thank you for giving us this glimpse into your life. I am very much looking forward to reading your short story collection. ?

    • p0sy

      Reply

      You are so right – I feel strongly about us all making the most of precious time. Wonderful comment x

  10. Reply

    When I read this for the second time I realised what a powerful post this is. Well done for continuing to learn and strive, to appreciate the need to take risks and for passing it on to those that follow us x

  11. Reply

    This post made me really think. I agree with you on many levels. The best way to live life is trying to do out best, and set our priorities in a way that we won’t regret having missed out on things later in life. I think that circumstances need to be taken into consideration here too, though: health, financial opportunities, where you live. What you describe reminds me a little of a privilege. Yes, if you are generally physically and mentally healthy, are white, live in the Western world, have a strong support system, and are middle class or higher, everything you say is so very true! And if you are in a position like that (if you are lucky, you are a guy too, which makes things easier!), then it would be really disappointing if you wouldn’t embrace life to the fullest, and not in a hedonistic sense, but as in, do things, experience life, don’t get stuck in ruts. Yes! But if you don’t have those privileges, then you might not be able to prioritize those things because your focus is on survival, you can’t break out of society’s walls, you can’t do what you want because you don’t have the opportunities. What I am saying is that together with seizing the day, living life to the fullest, putting our effort into doing something we are proud of with our skills, also needs to come gratitude to be able to choose. Not everyone has those choices available, the opportunities, the options. I think part of living life to the fullest should be a strong sense of gratitude if you are lucky enough to be part of the group who can even consider doing the things you suggested. I am so glad you are still with us, Posy. I am so impressed how supportive you are of your children, and of those that are younger and are talented. I think it is never too late in life to start things over or to walk on another path. You have shown that. Carpe diem, my friend!

    • p0sy

      Reply

      Thanks Devie, I hadn’t thought of the privilege angle, and it’s a gross omission. Some people as you say may be occupied surviving, striving to swim rather than sink. I am delighted you redressed the balance with your comment. Grateful to even have the opportunities – that’s the watchword.
      Meeting my brother today I told him about my blog and adult writing, he’s recently changed careers completely (quite an uphill struggle, with reduced money during his apprenticeship) and he said “Look at Us Living the Dream”.

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  13. Reply

    I like that you fulfilled your ambition to write, and that you’re getting your writing published – that’s a major achievement.

    You write well ~very well~ and look great too, so don’t let Mr Churchgate stop you continuing with that! 🙂

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