“Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre
This describes a dilemma in my new life. I am 71. I do not come from a line of long-lived people. My age would be a great excuse not to start some new adventures. I ask myself, is it too late to start work to become a homeopath, or a writer, or a Qigong instructor?
Or is it too early? I am not an experienced writer, homeopath, or Qigong instructor. Do I need to wait until I learn more? Do I need to find teachers? Do I need to find many people who will listen to me, read my work, or do Qigong? Do I need to lose weight so that I am a credible health care provider or teacher?
Maybe I ask what I want to do with homeopathy, writing or practicing Qigong? Those questions could actually have an answer, as opposed to is it too late or too early to start – which has no answer.
Homeopathy fascinates me. It challenges everything I ever learned about health-care providing and, at the same time, confirmed some of my core beliefs about how health care should work. It seems to be an answer to many of our current health care crises. Two approaches to the study of homeopathy come to mind. I can choose to study to become a practitioner (at least three more years), or I can choose to study to stretch my mind, to treat myself, to share information with others. Or I can decide I am too old. Too late? Too early?
I have always loved writing and reading. Professional physical therapy writing (which I have done), however, is a far cry from writing fiction or blogging or self-exploration. What do I know about developing a plot or characters? What do I have worth sharing in a blog or in inspirational circles? Certainly I should wait until I know more. And I am 71 and I may not have lots of years left to acquire a following. Too early? To late?
Becoming a Qigong master is a lifetime’s worth of study. I took a course 3 months ago. I am round and unfit and have sore knees. A teacher should be a good example. Losing weight safely would take me a few years to get where I would like to be. Full certification will take another year; becoming a master would probably take 20 years. Sharing information doesn’t need to claim mastery, only interest and a commitment to doing something. Too late? Too early?
One more factor – I have, in fact, slowed down. Hard to admit, but I can no longer go full out for ten to twelve hours a day. Boils down to choices. Maybe that is more important than whether it is too early or too late.
My years of teaching taught me that the teacher needs to have a general grasp of the topic, but only needs to stay a day or two ahead of the students in the details and specifics and she needs to master the phrase, “I don’t know Let’s look it up.” If I apply that rule to homeopathy and Qigong, I can’t claim that it is too early. I have a general grasp of both and can stay ahead of the students. Especially if I am honest about where they can go with the knowledge I have. Going further will require new teachers. Sounds like too early is not a reason not to do either of these. And I have strong suspicion that the best preparation for a writer is to write. Too early seems to fail at this one, too.
Is it too late? This is where the slowing down factor comes to play. I have decided that it is too late to pursue becoming a classical homeopath. Several reasons here. Probably the biggest is that I don’t want to work that hard. The work required would limit my time to do other things that I want. The credentials that I would receive would prepare me to treat clients. At this point in my life I do not want that responsibility. I want my homeopath to be available whenever I need her; I don’t want to be that available to my potential clients. I have grandsons to play with! I do, however, have a wealth of information right now that I would enjoy sharing with others. Offering some classes about how to use homeopathy or what homeopathy is about is certainly a possibility.
What about Qigong? If it is too early, I will never do it. Going to the sacred mountains in China to study with the Masters sounds intriguing, but it isn’t going to happen. Finding some people who want to learn and study together, however, is totally possible. It certainly is not too late.
And writing? I am writing right now. I can practice right now. It may be too late to become a prolific best selling writer (or maybe not), but I can certainly start writing. And learn as I write. I can find people to talk to about writing, books and blogs to read about how to write, and courses to take. It certainly isn’t too late. I could let the lack of experience make me think it is too early, but the only down side of having it be too early is that the writing won’t be good and people might tell me that. If I hear that I can attribute it to learning – learning is good! A thick skin might also help. And I can always tell them I am not a writer, I am a grandmother who is writing. Fine line of difference, but it might make my psyche feel a bit better.
I am back to the choices – and the slowing down. The questions I need to ask are what I want to do and how much of it do I want to do. Seems like too early and too late are the wrong questions.