"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
This proverb grabbed my attention—perhaps because my husband and I have two beautiful trees that we received when our two sons were born. Steven is now 26, and Jason, 24. Our sons, similar to the trees, are tall and mature—growth that takes time and can't be bought.
This proverb also reminds me of a story told by Barbara Sher, career counselor and best-selling author of seven books. A woman approached Barbara at a book-signing event to say that she had always wanted to create a museum of her family's century old farm. With passion she described her vision of a place where people could learn about the history of farming and also honor the generations who had worked on the farm. Then her voice dropped and the sparkle in her eyes faded when she said, "It's too late. I never did it."
Barbara asked the woman's age. She replied, 62. Then Barbara asked, "Are you sick?" Looking a little perplexed she replied, no. "Well then, you need to get to work on that museum. When you're 80, you'll realize just how young you were at 62."
This true story has a happy ending. The woman followed through and is developing the museum of her dreams. Metaphorically, she planted a tree at age 62.
Looking back I'm glad I planted those trees over two decades ago. It was the best time. But what about the "trees" I didn't plant? And what about the trees that you didn't plant? What would you do if now is the next best time to plant?
Make a list of your trees—a long list. Don't hold back. Whatever comes to your mind write it down even if it seems unattainable at this time.
Now go back over the list and begin by choosing one tree to plant. Next, create a step-by-step plan for getting started. Then share your plan with a carefully selected friend or family member. This person needs to be your greatest cheerleader (sometimes this isn't your closest relative.) This person will help you keep the tree alive with proper care and extra fertilizer. This person will water the tree when you can't be there.
There often is a best time to do something, but this doesn't mean it's the only time. In fact, now is the only time we have. In our retirement years let's make the most of this season!
(You may want to literally plant a tree as a visual reminder that it's not too late for your dreams to grow!)
Copyright 2015 Patrice Jenkins All Rights Reserved