Leaving That Kid Behind in my 50’s
by Anita Agers-Brooks
March 05th, 2015
I was that kid.
Taunted, teased, persecuted, bullied. Not by all, but by enough.
Enough to cause me to believe the lies. Enough to fall prey to the insecurity and fear they birthed. Enough to make me replay their stinging nettles throughout my childhood, into my young adult years. It wasn’t until mid-life that I told those naysayers to stop. Finally listening to The Voice of Truth, Compassion, and Purpose.
I grew up poor. The oldest of six children, stair-stepped in age, raised by parents who started too young, and didn’t have the benefit of a solid financial springboard.
I was in second grade before I ever wore pants, and in the 70’s, this was not cool for a girl. It was the age of sassy, saucy young women; The Carol Burnett Show, McMillan and Wife, Mary Tyler Moore, and All in the Family. Bell-bottoms and jumpsuits were the rage, but for me, all I had were the hand-me-downs from well-meaning ladies at church. Too baggy and too big dresses. The kids at school noticed — a lot.
At home, I equally felt out of place. My mother was an especially gifted artist, who sacrificed her dreams to raise her family. My dad equally talented at drawing and carving. Like guppies to water, my five siblings each showed their proficiency to art early in life. And then there was me.
When I tell you I practiced drawing stick people, this is no exaggeration. I spent countless hours struggling to get them right. I eventually achieved an adequate ability to make round faces smile on top of straight bodies with squiggly hair. On a good day, I could add clothes and shoes that didn’t look like blobs stuck on as a secondary thought.
In my mid-forties, after going through a period I now refer to as my Jobette years, (like a female version of the biblical person, Job), I noticed how much I repeated the words of the past into my present. Then I started allowing myself to remember the girl before the bullies, before the insecurity, the girl with her own talents and dreams. As I approached fifty, I wondered…
Could I unearth those dreams? Was there still time to invest my talents?
At first, I reprimanded myself, “You waited too late,” I said out loud more than once.
But then God showed up and reminded me of all the people who did great things later in life.
From the Bible:
Sarai — 90 years old when she gave birth to the son of God’s promised bloodline.
Moses — Aged 80 when God used him to set the Israelites free from Egyptian rule.
Daniel — Scholars agree he was in his eighties when God saved him from the lion’s den.
Late blooming authors:
Laura Ingalls Wilder — First published in her mid-sixties.
Mary Wesley — In her seventies when her first novel released.
Frank McCourt — This bestseller was in his mid-sixties when Angela’s Ashes hit stores.
I could list hundreds more if I took the time to research the Bible and Google those who accomplished great things later in life. But I don’t need to. God has shown me through my own experience, that it’s never too late to make a fresh start with fresh faith.
In mid-life, I began to pursue life as a writer. I dared to ask:
What if I let my entire life pass without at least making the attempt?
I prayed, studied, practiced, and invested myself into the quest — and I’ve succeeded. First Hired, Last Fired: How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market released late, 2013. My latest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over is ready for its April 1st, debut. I have a long list of other titles in the hopper, I plan to keep my literary agent busy for years to come, if God so wills it.
Why is it we keep listening to old lies of voices long since faded away?
I find it interesting that some of my biggest fans today, are old school pals who found me on Facebook. Some who chimed in with the bullies of the past, are chanting and cheerleading as I write and speak today.
What about you? Are you still listening to that kid in your past? Are you willing to say, “Stop?” Will you listen to the Voice of Truth instead?
In the Parable of the Talents, (Matthew 25:14-28), we are admonished to invest our talents. There is no time limit given. So I ask, “What have you buried? Isn’t it time you dig it up so you can share in Your Master’s happiness?”
Who knows, like me, you just might succeed.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, international speaker, author, and host of the podcast, Fresh Faith Inspirations with Anita Brooks. She is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. Anita loves lounging by a lake with her husband, and believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
More of Anita Agers-Brooks: http://anitabrooks.com/