This week I read a story in the news about a lady, Eleanor Kops, who at the modest age of 87 graduated from the University of Nebraska.
She first enrolled in that same University back in 1945, but ended up quitting and getting married to a man she deeply loved. They were married for 63 years and, after his death, one of her daughters suggested she’d go back to college and get her degree (you can read the whole story here).
Back in 2013, in an interview for the Lincoln Journal Star, Eleanor said that she “was scared at first” but eventually she realised that it was more enjoyable than scary.
We all have moments in our lives, moments when we’re scared, we’re not sure if we’re doing the right thing, we’re terrified even, of the changes to come. Especially if we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make those changes, like in Eleanor’s case, how she chose to go to college, she chose the challenge. And it’s only natural to second guess yourself as well, after all, you’re embracing the unknown. But do not underestimate the importance of embracing new challenges in your life, especially when you are unhappy with your life or when you feel like ‘this isn’t it’.
How often do people find themselves unhappy with their lives, miserable even? And yet so many choose not to make a change. Why? Because they’ve reached a state of comfort and, even if unhappy, it is hard to leave. It is beyond hard, it is one of the most difficult things to do – to walk away from something ‘safe’, ‘known’, a comfort space that you’ve build, even if it is an unhappy one. There’s voices all around you, opinions and advises, and most likely people will tell you not to take that leap into the unknown. Maybe they’re afraid too, maybe they like their position of comfort and don’t understand why you don’t. But the most important thing to bear in mind is this: they’re not you. The only voice that matters is your own. And if you want to pursue happiness, even though you’re completely lost, and you don’t know what comes next, then make that choice: to embrace change, to embrace the unknown.
Often people will linger on, and then before they know, they’re thinking “it’s too late now, I should have done it before”. Well, if you are unhappy, then the sooner the better, if you ask me. Life is too short to be miserable. But if you haven’t taken that step sooner, well, just do it now, “better late than never”, isn’t that what they say? It is never too late to change, to pursue your dreams, or to choose happiness. Maybe the older you get, the bigger the fear of the unknown is, I wouldn’t know because I still think of myself as a very young woman.
I do know this, sometimes I am scared too. And sometimes, when I have a brilliant, and most likely crazy idea, I have that little voice (again) that says it’s too late. But then I get a grip. I mentally slap my voice. It’s not too late to try. It’s not too late to fail. It’s not too late to try again. It’s not too late to make it and it’s definitely not too late to take up new challenges.
Take up new challenges, embrace the things that make you happy, choose to be happier even if the path looks more difficult, as it will certainly be the most rewarding.
Take Eleanor’s story and let it inspire you. Eleanor is 87! The life expectancy in the USA is 78 years old! She’s nine years older than the average life expectancy and she has graduated from University.
It wasn’t too late for her, it isn’t too late for you.
Here’s a picture of Eleanor graduating (source Today News)