Editor’s note: Annie Lane is off this week. This column was originally published in 2019.
Dear Annie: Without trying to sound arrogant, I am smarter than the average bear. Not quite a genius but certainly up there. I won all kinds of academic awards in school and hold three degrees.
But my problem is this: I am now 48 and the mother of two children with special needs. I have spent most of my life being their caregiver (for which I do not blame them at all because they needed help and I’m their mother) and a full-time homemaker. I feel disappointed somehow, as though I wasted my talent. I don’t know how to describe it. I feel as though I was given this talent and I didn’t use it to the fullest.
Do I have a responsibility to use my gifts? Did I let myself and/or others down because I didn’t really? Do I need to set a goal for myself, and if so, what? – Really Not Conceited
Dear Really Not Conceited: No, you haven’t let anyone down. You’ve raised two kids and made a loving home. So please stop beating yourself up for not having pursued all of your dreams yet. You are only 48 years young. There is still plenty of time. Many famous writers and artists got started after 40 – though this isn’t about chasing after fame. It’s about honoring the part of yourself that wants to shine more light onto the world. I can’t tell you what your specific goal should be, as I don’t know what’s in your heart. But you should make it a priority to carve time out of your day for creativity, by journaling, drawing, taking a class – doing anything that nurtures the part of yourself that you feel heretofore has been underfed. You won’t be satisfied until you do.
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