IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
A Blog by Susan Cambigue Tracey
How many of us put up our own Stop Signs in life?
“Stop! – You are too young!”
“Stop! – You aren’t good enough!”
“Stop! You aren’t smart enough!”
“Stop! You don’t have any talent!”
“Stop! You are a woman!”
“Stop! You aren’t tall enough (thin or pretty enough)!”
And, one characteristic that catches up with all of us – “Stop! You are too old!”
Think about all the “Stops” that delayed, prevented, and moved you away from fulfilling your true self.
Well, I stopped myself at many points along the way. At times it was a struggle to feel worthy of being happy and fulfilled. But, there was always a tiny flame within me that just wouldn’t be blown out. We all have that flame within us that continues to burn, even as an ember, until we take our last breath and exit our body.
While you are still alive, it is possible to fan that ember or tiny flame – that little light within each of us! Remember the joyous song many of us sang in our youth, “This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine!” Well, those words continued to replay themselves inside my heart and head whenever I faced a dead-end.
I would imagine myself in a dark hole that I had dug. It was so dark and lonely that I brought in imaginary twinkle lights to brighten up my space. Eventually, I added more and more until one day I decided to claw my way up the side of my hole, now complex and multi-layered. It was a big and exhausting struggle – but, something within me would not give up. Finally, I was able to reach the sunlight of the day and the moonlight of night and resume my journey with some awe, curiosity, and balance.
When I was 50, I designed a personal 25-year plan. At 69, I had accomplished all of it, so wrote a revised 5-year plan to take me to my 75th birthday. I decided to retire from a long career as a teaching dance artist and director of curriculum and training for a major arts institution. As I continued my full-time job, I signed up to do the 500 hours of training to qualify as a certified yoga instructor, tackling the required rigorous study and practice. Of course, I was the oldest one in the group! Surrounded by people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s – there was one 55 year old who was a former Laker’s Cheer Leader – it took all my strength, endurance, and determination to stay the course. But, I did it!
Shortly afterward, I had both of my hips replaced at the same time! During my long recovery, my husband and I designed and constructed a yoga studio in our backyard. Then, I began to invite people to train with me and began building a fulfilling new career.
I am now 81 years old and feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I have since my 50s. My husband plays music at the end of my classes and also takes Chair Yoga with me three times a week. It gives us a shared activity, purpose, and responsibility – which keeps us happy, healthy, and connected to a community that we have formed.
These past 12 years – since I wrote my revised Long Range Plan – have brought a youthful exuberance to our lives, connected us to a diverse group of people who share the joy of being healthy together. Although we may have a variety of other interests, philosophies, and political bents, we find that age does not interfere in our ability to connect as members of the human family. We not only practice yoga together, but we support each other in fulfilling our lives.
My motto is quite simple: “Never give up!”