“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
I still remember the rush of hope that ran through my veins the first time I read that quote from George Eliot. I don’t remember where I was or how old I was; I just remember feeling that sudden thrill of recognition – that moment when you realize that there is someone else in the world who has felt what you feel, who has been where you are, who perhaps knows the pain of regret, yet looks down the road ahead with hope in her heart.
I spent most of my formative years trying to live up to other people’s ideals. Whether it was parents, teachers, bosses, friends, or boyfriends, it seemed like everyone had high expectations of me, and they weren’t always the same. And as a people-pleaser and harmonizer by nature, I frequently found myself trying to become the person that someone else wanted me to be. You might guess that this would be the quickest way to crazy – and you’d be right.
So who am I really? This is what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past few years. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’m sure I’ll continue to make more. But I used to look back at my mistakes – my choices – with regret and loss. I don’t do that anymore (or at least, not too often!). George Eliot taught me that it’s never too late to be who I might have been. There is still time; there is grace; there is hope for the future and for change and for a different path; there are still dreams to chase hard after and there are still second chances, thanks be to God.
And that’s why I love this quote. I never want to look back on my life and think, “I missed the boat. It’s too late.” God is always working in me, always changing me, always opening new doors and leading me in new paths. There really is no “might have been” with God. There is only hope. “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).