If you do have a dream, are you living it now? Working on it every moment you can? Or are you waiting until whatever — retirement, when the grandchildren are older, when you sell this big house, when you have more time?
If you don’t have a dream, did you used to? If so, when did you give up on it? Why? Maybe you no longer desired it, but more likely you decided it was not possible, certainly no longer possible and maybe never possible. In retrospect, does it seem silly or does it still ignite a spark somewhere in your heart or belly.
When we were little girls, most of us had dreams, maybe lots of dreams. I dreamed of being a famous actress performing before large, applauding audiences every night. (And I think my family felt that much of the time I must think I already WAS that famous actress!) At one point I dreamed of being an outstanding swimmer. In fact, I started a book about a woman who swam successfully, by herself, all the way to Europe.
These are little girl dreams, but as I got older, I had other dreams. I dreamed of having my own business, of owning my own home, of writing a book. And with huge gratitude, I have been able to do all those things. But what about those other dreams, the ones that just seem too big?
For me one of those childhood dreams that’s remained lurking all these years is being able to feed all the hungry children in the world. I remember when I was very young my family and I went to an evening program where people who had been to Africa were showing an 8mm film about their trip. I think there were lots of images from life in the villages they visited, but all I remember are the ones of little children who looked as if they were starving, begging for food. I remember wondering at the time how I could get some of my food to them.
And now, all these years later, I wince when I hear that one in every six children in the United States alone struggles with hunger, or even more sobering the report from the World Food Program USA that every year 51 million children worldwide die of malnutrition and lack of nourishment. When I read this kind of thing, I can feel that tiny little spark, deep in my belly, ignite. It’s almost as if it’s saying “This is not right. What can I do about it?”
This is the Spark
THOSE are the sparks, now in the prime of our lives, we can use to ignite our way forward in the world, in a world that desperately needs us. A world that needs our wisdom, our experience and skills, our sensitivity, our dreams.
Many of the women over 55 whom I speak to and work with talk about feeling at “loose ends,” of being bored, of wanting more in their lives, of looking ahead and not seeing much to excite them. If this sounds familiar, remember the world needs you. The world needs all of us. All you have to do is figure out what is that spark deep inside you that will guide you forward into new places that desperately need and want exactly what you have and want to offer.
Now is the Time
As a woman over 55, you don’t need to agree to “wind down,” and then sit down and stay out of the way. You are just entering your prime when you have the most to offer the world and those who need you. You have the time. You have the resources. You have the skills and experience. You just need the will and even a hint at a way forward, and off you’ll go. Let’s do it together.