Opening Night

“I want you to realize that this life we’re living right now is not a practice game. It’s the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the Olympics all rolled up into one.”

Jim Stovall, The Millionaire Map


I’ve never been one to worry too much about what age I am. When I turned 30, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. We were actively working on getting pregnant with our second child, we celebrated at one of my favorite spots, and it was just another decade. I did remember being filled with hope of what I would accomplish in my 30s. So, when I turned 40, I was surprised it bothered me as much as it did. I felt, in a way, like I had let myself down. There were certain goals I’d worked on endlessly during my 30s, hoping to put that part of my life behind me so I could concentrate on other more important things. But, instead of making progress, I had seemed to go backwards. I didn’t like it.

This year, I will turn 42. The truth of that hit me hard when I read and really absorbed the words of the above quote. This isn’t a practice run. Life can get better…it can get worse…but it will keep moving. What I choose to do with my time, talents, attitude, circumstances, how I choose to respond to others’ around me – this is the real deal. I don’t get a do over on the time I’m living right now.

I don’t get to relive my 30s. They’re gone. And while I hate to admit it, I have regrets. I’m disappointed in how I focused too much on certain areas, letting them affect every other choice I made. While I can’t get those moments (or that decade) back, I can choose to move forward and do things differently from here forward. I can choose to live purposefully. I can choose to seize opportunities as they arise and make memories to store away for later. I can choose to live the best “me” every day, instead of thinking I can “start over tomorrow.” I can choose to move my body, eat healthy without deprivation, love hard, forgive more. I can choose to hit the “restart” button faster when I fail, and I will fail, instead of wallowing in regrets, guilt, and self condemnation. I can choose to follow the path God put me on instead of wandering over to other’s paths, contemplating if I should be there instead.

Will I get it perfectly? Nope. When I hit the next milestone (50), I’m sure I’ll still have regrets. Some areas may not have improved as much as I would’ve hoped, but I pray I’ve made some progress in extending grace for those imperfections…to myself, my kids, and those around me. I would rather be an imperfect example filled with grace than a perfect example of what not to do.

I need to keep reminding myself this isn’t dress rehearsal. I can’t stop the play if I mess up my lines. This is opening night. When I mess up, and I will, I need to keep going, keep trying, and maybe learn to laugh at myself a little more. After all, most mistakes are better when you laugh about them later.

© Cheri Swalwell 2014

2 Replies to “Opening Night”

  1. We may not have another hour here so I’m thankful that God can restore the years that have been “lost”. He can make a lot of things bear fruit in our old age or after we are gone from the earth. ALL things are possible with God.

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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