“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
~ George Eliot, English novelist (1819 – 1880)
As children we are told that we can accomplish anything that we put our minds to; and in our wide-eyed innocence we truly believe that we can, and off we go!
As time passes, however, we lose our innocence, our vigor, and slowly, the dreams we had as children fade away. We settle into our lives and begin to believe that it’s too late for us, that the twists and turns of life have simply led us too far from our dreams.
We invent excuses; I’m too old, too tired, too disabled. Then, we wait…and wait…and wait. For exactly what, we’re never quite sure. We simply go about living; but not really. Because, living is not simply existence, but action! The idea isn’t to simply wake up and breathe, but to experience the day!
We know…life is tough with a disability. Trust us, we get it! But we must not spend our good days lamenting about the bad. We must take full advantage of those good days and charge forward, even if it’s in the smallest of ways. Writing a “to do” list, for example, or simply taking the time to remember what exactly your dreams were in the first place, might be a good place to start.
It may also do some good to reflect on the accomplishments of our peers with disabilities, as a reminder that “where there is a will, there is a way.”
We have numerous examples before us. Take the incomparable (if not utterly intimidating) Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist, who despite having severe physical limitations caused by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), is regarded as one of the preeminent experts on black holes.
Then there are the lesser known (and perhaps more relatable) examples, like Vance Taylor, who, despite a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy and dire predictions by physicians, is a husband, father and accomplished homeland security consultant in DC.
The paths of both of these men were surely riddled with hurdles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And surely, they both, at some point, faltered under the weight of their dreams. Yet, a steely determination to succeed carried them through. And here they are, living the dream!
Remember, no one can tell you who you’re supposed to be. Only you can define your dreams, and only you can make them happen! So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!
For more on Stephen Hawking:
For musings from Vance Taylor: