Where others my age are already planning for their retirement, I’m just beginning again.
The last two decades of my life were focused on raising a family, and although I wrote professionally through those years, give or take a few years, I never really worked full-time.
Not that I regret it. I devoted those years to my children, and was present for all their milestones. They had my undivided attention.
I like to say that every decade, we must evolve, so that we do not stagnate. Knowledge about the next stage also empowers us. I like to do advance reading for the next life stage just so I am prepared for what comes next.
In my 30s, I was reading about midlife, and in my mid-40s I was studying perimenopause. Soon I know I’ll find myself reading about the senior years and beyond.
Recently I took on a full-time job for one of the country’s top pharmaceutical companies. I like to share the story of how it was an answered prayer for a mid-lifer like me. I had been praying for a full-time post to come my way before I would turn 50. Finally, after a long, seemingly endless journey, the offer came at the perfect time.
Even when it did, stubborn me, I still had my doubts.
And so while waiting for the HR director to discuss the job offer with me, I prayed even more for a very clear sign that this was where He wanted me to be. And, true enough, He came through, just as He always did.
How? The company car given to me was the exact make, model and color of the car that I had planned to buy for myself on my 50th birthday next year. Trivial? I don’t think so. Just another manifestation that God is truly in the details, down to the specifics.
Among the lessons I learned quite well these last few years is to surrender and let go. Author Marc Chernoff describes it beautifully—“Life should be touched, not strangled. Sometimes you’ve got to relax and let life happen without incessant worry and micromanagement. Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight.
“Take a deep breath. When the dust settles and you can once again see the forest for the trees, take the next step forward. You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great. Everything in life is in perfect order, whether you understand it yet or not. It just takes some time to connect all the dots…”
No more time
The quote comes from an article, “The Ten Choices You Will Regret in Ten Years.”
But although loosening up is important, Chernoff cites the importance of not putting things off.
He writes: “The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do. But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do. And at that point you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven’t.”
I want to tell you that it’s never too late to begin again; whether it’s the realm of the personal or the professional, no matter what the circumstances may be, you must stay positive.
And there’s no need to fear rejection. Rejection can always be viewed as God’s redirection. When rejection happens, choose to believe that space is being freed up for something new to come in, or that God has something better in store for you, so there is no need to fret, or regret.
One of my high points this week was seeing and listening to Jonathan Yabut, the first winner of “The Apprentice Asia.” Yabut was a senior product manager for a pharmaceutical company, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) Philippines.
An inspiring young man, the 28-year-old winner said in an interview with Rappler that prior to joining the competition where he bested 30,000 applicants to emerge as one of 12 finalists, he was “just a guy doing marketing. I sent in an application video and voilà, here I am now. I think that’s the lesson in the end: You can be anything, time is just the enemy. It’s about taking the first step, showing up when the opportunity knocks.”
When he sent in his application, Yabut was also coming out of a year-long relationship and nursing a major heartache. In part, it’s what also drove him to join the competition. In a situation where he was practically cut off from the rest of the world, he was insulated from reality, “like in a bubble.” By the time he won the grand prize, he had been fully healed.
Deborah Moggach, who wrote the bestseller “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a heart-warming story about the business of growing old, put it perfectly. “Everything will be all right in the end so if it is not all right, it is not the end.”
I thought that was pretty inspiring—that whether you are 28, like Yabut, or 48, like me, one must never stop dreaming, that for as long as you are still breathing, with determination, and much prayer, when it is part of the unique and divine plan for you. There’s always the possibility that dreams will come true.
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