“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” -George Eliot
George Eliot, Meg Tilly and me. What common thread joins the three of us?
Certainly not fame, only 2 out of three of us have that. Not age, we are quite disparate age-wise, especially George. Not acting ability, only one of us has an Oscar nomination. Writing ability, only two are well-respected published authors. Hometown, nope. University background, nope. Give up? The answer, adversity, resilience and the courage to use it to propel our dreams forward.
The birth of this blog entry came while I was watching an interview between Strombo and Tilly. Meg Tilly, eloquently and succinctly, outlined her childhood. It was a childhood layered with abuse and lived in a state of profound poverty. A childhood that could have broken her but instead it became the force that drove her life forward. It was clear, listening to the interview, that these early formative years continue to inform her life today.
George Eliot, aka Mary Anne Evans, aspired to be an author. She was single focused and created a path for herself in a male dominated writing profession. She did this by accepting the reality of the day , that to be accepted as a writer with gravitas, she would have to write under a gender acceptable nom de plume. Mary Anne took a risk and followed her dream. The obstacles, no deterrent. Her passion for writing, overcame the obstacle of gender and she went on to write such impressive novels as Silas Marner and Adam Bede. George Eliot became a literary star of the day.
Meg Tilly, a success on every level, a talented actor and author. She left the craft of acting at the highest peak. She just walked away. She returned recently after her sister jolted her stasis by giving her a bracelet with the inspirational and prophetic words of George Eliot engraved on the back. With a minor pause for reflection, Meg let her own unique truth surface The result was her setting a new course in an old and neglected direction. This time armed with more life experience.
Meg Tilly’s courageous leap of faith is now a gift to us all. Meg Tilly’s recent foray into the TV mini-series “Bomb Girls” showcases her remarkable talent. A talent, that had it not been prodded into action, might have remained dormant and unrealized. A talent unrealized is a loss to us all.
Being a famous author or being an Academy nominee aren’t the only prerequisites to being in danger of having unfulfilled dormant dreams. Is it possible that the adversity that makes us put the dreams on hold is also the key to setting them free? I believe this to be true. Adversity has been part of my life path. As an immigrant, as a young woman evolving and growing though the pre -feminist and feminist sixties and as an out lesbian long before Stonewall and Gay PRIDE. My most recent adversity, a cancer diagnosis, some incredibly invasive treatment, all culminating in a banner year that resulted in the loss of my job.
The outcome, the need to completely overhaul , re-invent and rebuild. No time to spare. Okay maybe a little time, just enough to indulge in a bit of “why me? ” Just enough time to grieve the loss of the old and embrace the path leading to the new. Time to really look at “what could have been” and set a plan in motion to achieve it.
The result , my passion is being realized and continues to evolve. The box, used to keep the dreams in check, now in pieces. It’s been replaced by a new vision and optimism that knows no limits or self defeating boundaries. It’s a wonderful thing to feel the freedom to move in whatever direction I choose.
Now, as an entrepreneur in a new and exciting business venture, as a coach in a exciting and fulfilling practice and as a tentative but determined writer I have been struck by how much each reconnection feeds an internal passion that builds self confidence . The outcome is an unbridled creativity that propels me forward on a path to uncensored self discovery.
The lesson, use what you have, get your experience from the good and the bad and use both to your advantage. Chart that path forward, ever mindful, that adversity is the key to your resilience. Be authentic and you won’t lose your way. Each curve ball that crosses our path represents a potential strike or a hit out the park.
So, what do the three of us have in common:
The ability to succeed even when success looks elusive and difficult to attain.
Resilience, learning from difficult and painful experience to achieve and realize the passion within.
The knowledge to know that good and bad are both part of the recipe that fuels success.
The path to “what we might have been” starts with the conviction that it is all still possible. Within each of us is the key to unleash the passion. As unique beings only we can decide when to release the dream to reality.
If you believe George Eliot’s quote, “it’s never too late to be what you might have been” then you already know the path that’s calling you. Perhaps it’s time to release it to reality.