Her Stellar Career

 Joyce Irving by Jane Rantall


It can be tempting to think that all the aspirations I had are pointless.  I know that it is unlikely that I will achieve the things I thought were important to achieve.  Those pre-sick goals and career aspirations that meant so much.  But I am coming to a new and exciting understanding. I think that the things I am meant to achieve are simpler, but so much more important.  The gifts I have to give are closer to hand, less determined by circumstance than I ever thought.  Here I am, writing.  To you and to people that I didn’t even know wanted to hear my words.  That is exponentially better than what I thought I was supposed to do.  Somehow.  What I might have been is bigger yet smaller than I knew.  Better than I imagined.

Sometimes it’s easy to think you have missed your chance.  Missed the boat. Lost the plot. Sometimes you can think that you have been passed over, or not noticed.  Like no one is hearing or seeing the beauty of who you really are. The unique reason you are here.  No one gets you.  You are the last one picked, all over again. It’s your voice drowned out by the noise, it’s your turn just when the time runs out. It’s a lonely feeling.  There’s a false timeline in our heads that says “If it hasn’t happened by __________ , well, it just won’t happen”.  Maybe you feel like you have lost your way… maybe you have stopped believing that your dreams can come true.  

Today I saw this video.  It’s a vodafone promotion, part of a series called ‘firsts’.  These ladies are trying something for the very first time.  I watched it through, thinking… cute… yeah, cute… and then there was a moment.  One of the ladies was recounting her first ever flying experience to her husband.  She had done it.  She was so overcome, she could barely get the words out.  All of a sudden, I recognised that emotion; that painful surge of feeling that comes when you realise.  That all this time you were afraid of something you didn’t need to be afraid of.  You spent all that energy on something that wasn’t as big as you thought it was. It’s the sob of regret and relief. The torture of the realisation:  It is never too late… but how much time have I wasted not believing in myself?  Maybe giving up on your dream was something you chose to do because you thought it might never come true.  But… what if you didn’t give up?  What if you took some steps towards that dream?  What if you didn’t waste any more time fighting it?  Putting yourself in between you and what you need to do?

What if you took action, just as if your dream was an inevitability?

My darling Granny has been teaching me things since I was a small girl. But a couple of years ago, she showed me something quite remarkable.   She’s been acting most of her life, she’s an accomplished actor with a string of theatre and TV credits to her name. Many of us would think that is enough accomplishment.  But she’s more than a little bit extraordinary, and more than a little driven.  A short film she had recently been in was shortlisted for a film festival overseas. It was wonderful that the film and her performance were gaining so much notice, but Granny wanted to go to the film festival to represent, in person. To walk the red carpet in a fancy frock and court the media seemed to her to be a perfectly achievable dream.  She is a can-do kind of woman.   But she didn’t have the cash to splash.  She did however, know a startling fact.

There is no problem that won’t diminish with some action. 

She set up a jam stall to sell her jams and jellies.  She called the local paper.  Granny got the ball rolling.  Within two weeks, a fundraising page was set up and Granny’s face was all over the local media.  Granny made an appointment to see a local fashion designer and was lent a frock for the big event.  And then, all the funding came through.  And there she was, living it large in Montreal with her daughter.  She did a whirlwind run of interviews and her face was soon all over the local rags in Canada.  See, my Granny is meant to be famous, she’s a compelling personality.  It is inevitable.  And something tells me that even with her stellar career, her star is still on the rise.  The factor that makes it all possible is that she isn’t just shuffling around her kitchen making jam.  She could be.  For most women her age, making jam is in itself, an achievement.  Granny keeps on taking action toward her dreams.  She attends auditions, rehearsals, casting calls. She does readings and involves herself in community theatre groups, further study… any performance opportunity wherever it may arise.  She hasn’t given up on her dreams.  Because she knows there is still time…. and she is ninety three. 

As long as there is tomorrow, there is still time.

Have you been feeling like it won’t happen?
Take some action.
Get the ball rolling.
Your dreams may be nearer to you than you imagined.  
Your dreams may be different than you thought.

George Eliot -Never too Late

Photo credit:  Joyce Irving (yes, that’s my real Granny!) by Jane Rantall Photography (that’s my cousin’s clever wife!)
Meme credit: thedailyquotes.com

6 thoughts on “Her Stellar Career”

  1. What a great post! I love the beautiful older women you included especially your amazing Grandmother. But I think we all work on our own inner timetable. Nothing happens in life until the moment it’s time for it to happen. I love T.S. Eliot and this is what he says about life- “To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
    ― T.S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism

    1. Barbara, what a beautiful quote. I love T S Eliot too. The lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock made me cry the first time I read it. I have a very special volume of T S Eliot’s poetry in my keeping, waiting for my children to be old enough to appreciate it’s sentimental value. It was given to us by the very same Granny I wrote about in this post. And YES. You are right, things happen when they are meant to happen. Sometimes, with some nudging 😉

  2. Gorgeous post Rachel, I love the way you write. Your nan sounds like a remarkable person and her story has come to me at the perfect time when I need a bit of courage and nudging. Thank you x

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