There be Dragons

BAY VIEW  Words from the desk

            There be dragons.  Or so it warned in Latin near the eastern coast of Asia on the early 16th century Lenox globe. When there was no clear definition or knowledge of what was out past where explorers and adventurers had gone, those words were believed by many people, if not actually inscribed on every early map. Much has changed since then, or has it? When charting unknown territory, we often get stopped in our tracks by doubts and possible negative outcomes and the fear of the dragons lying in wait for us. Christopher Columbus armed only with a map which may have had those frightening words scratched in, faced the possibility of dragons when he left the comfort of home and hearth in 1492. Paul Revere took the chance that he was going to be caught by the red-coated dragons when he galloped through the darkened streets of Boston that night in April of 1776. They both stepped out in daring fashion, knowing that dragons could potentially gobble them up. Their bravado held no clear outcome. Both were motivated by a passion: one to explore, the other to save his new country.

              It seems that in today’s world, however, there are very few daring boomers who will jump in with both feet and accept a challenge to learn and discover something new. Two young friends of ours decided to start using their talents and opened a specialized gift shop. The hurdles and road blocks seemed endless to their endeavor, but they’re successful and gain confidence with each new sale. Ryan, another young friend, developed a new and innovative idea of re-creating the family business. It’s been a slow start, but he’s well on the way to success. Both stepped out and just did it. They’re following their dreams. Here’s the perplexing part. I’ve asked acquaintances to name someone who’s stepped out and done something totally daring and out of character.  Interestingly, we could all name younger people such as those we just mentioned, but couldn’t come up with more than a handful of names in the over-50 crowd. In questioning a couple of friends with, “Why haven’t you…,” the answer invariably boils down to “there be dragons out there!” Thankfully Columbus and Revere and all the rest of the firebrand founding fathers had no such compunction. They were equipped with swords and had an almost blind courage that they could face down those dragons. That along with a strong belief that almighty providence would protect them, kept them moving forward.  

            Just imagine, we’re now of a certain age and we have all this wonderful time ahead of us, it’s something like a gift. Many of us are sadly not doing anything with it. Many of us have never been in a better place in our lives to get out there and do what we’ve only dreamed of doing. In Kathryn’s article on page XX, she introduces us to Peter Abbott who is the perfect example of getting out there and doing something with the wonderful bonus years that many of us still have to enjoy.           

            Yes, there are dragons out there, maybe more than ever with the threat of financial hard times, unemployment and terrorism, but is that a reason to paralyze our forward momentum? By the way, both Revere and Columbus were 40-somethings and not comfortably situated with a pension plan, 401(k), Social Security or a health plan. In other words, there were no safety nets.

            Perhaps this is the year to take the chance and do what you’ve only dreamed of doing. The question is, are you going to let dragons – literally or figuratively — stop your progress, or are you going to slay them and move forward to your intended dream or life’s purpose? Who knows, maybe like Columbus or our Revolutionary ancestors, you’ll discover the only obstacles are just life’s day-to-day hurdles, many of which you’ve already been through, that require continued courage and fortitude to overcome. Maybe you too will be pleased with the challenge of discovering what’s out there as you explore unfamiliar territory past the uncharted great beyond.

Tecla Murphy

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