New Castle News

Lisa Madras

November 5, 2012

Lisa Madras: With BIG plans on the horizon, I have replaced ‘If Only’ with ‘When I’

NEW CASTLE — What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

Children are amazing learners. In the span of one year, they learn to walk and to talk. In another, they learn addition, then subtraction, then multiplication.

They delelop previously unknown social skills. They learn to drive and how to balance a checkbook, how to bake a souffle and how to fall in love.

The thing is, somewhere along the way, most of us simply quit learning new things. I mean, sure, we all have to figure out how to do new things every once in a while, like how to play our child's favorite video game, or how to set up the voicemail on our new smart phone. But we stopped learning BIG things.

How often in your adult life have you said "I'm going to learn how to ride a motorcycle" or "I'm going to teach myself Spanish?” For most of us, probably never.

Yet I'm continually inspired by people I know who train to run their first 5K, or go back to school for another (or their first) degree, or teach themselves gourmet cooking. I often wish I had a lifestyle that would accommodate taking on a new challenge like that. The envy, sometimes, in my weakest moments, eats me alive.

If only I had a support system ... if only I was smart enough ... if only I had the time, the money, the energy. "If only," I've come to understand, is a phrase comprised of six tiny letters that within themselves contain a detrimental power that can keep us all from living the extraordinary lives that, quite frankly, we deserve.

Therefore, I've decided to eliminate it from my vocabulary. I AM smart enough. I DO have the time. I can MAKE the energy. I don't have a support system, or money, but so what? I've done everything in my life on my own and without a cent to my name, and I have two amazing children, and a home, and a job that allows me to reach out to people who may need to hear my voice.

So what's stopping me now?

"If only."

And that doesn't exist anymore, so onward I march.

I've made plans for myself for the next couple of years — BIG ones. They involve learning and improving and figuring out how to come up with the money for my end goal. I believe with all my heart that God has led me to these big plans, and that it is now my responsibility to carry them through.

I will not, not even once, look at myself in the mirror and say "If only."

“Write down 10 things you would do in your life if you had absolutely no fear. Then pick one of them and do it.” — Steve Chandler

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