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Ready or not

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We might not feel ready for what life throws at us, but we have to keep moving forward

By Stevie Lowery

 My son, Owen, officially becomes a teenager today.

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As I write this, I’m simultaneously feeling extremely grateful and on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. 

Turning 40 earlier this month was a reality check for me. But, my little boy becoming a teenager is slightly terrifying.

“I’m not ready,” I think to myself as I swallow a huge lump in my throat.

But, are we ever truly “ready?”

I can remember nursing Owen in the middle of the night a week after he was born and crying uncontrollably because I didn’t feel “ready” to be a mom.

On his first birthday, I cried because time was going by too fast. I wasn’t “ready.”

I wasn’t “ready” for his first day of preschool.

I wasn’t “ready” for his first afternoon on a school bus.

I won’t be “ready” the day he gets his driver’s license, either, but it’s going to happen whether I like it or not. Owen reminds me of this often.

While we may never feel truly “ready” for what life throws at us, we have to keep taking the next step forward, even if we’re holding our breath. 

Life is full of these “not ready” moments. And, sometimes these moments are extremely difficult, scary, sad or all of the above. But, these moments can be exhilarating, too. You might not feel ready to leave home and start college, but it’s such an exciting time in your life. You might not feel ready to start a new job, but it could be the start of a successful career. You might not feel ready to make that next big life change – whatever that change may be – but you won’t know unless you try, unless you take that step, that chance. 

And, unfortunately, sometimes, it doesn’t work out. “It” could be college, a job, a relationship, marriage, etc. And, when “it” doesn’t work out the way we hoped it would, we still have to move forward. Our steps forward might be slow, unsteady, and we might even have to stand still for a while just to catch our breath. But, ultimately, we have to move forward.

Today, my son is one step closer to experiencing many of his own “not ready” moments. And, I know he will experience many missteps, make many mistakes and even suffer some failures along the way. But, I’m also confident he’s armed with the determination and drive to keep moving forward, to keep trying again. 

When Owen was just seven years old, his teacher asked him to write down something that made him special. 

“I believe in myself,” he wrote.

At the end of the day, that’s all I want for my son. No matter the situation or circumstance, I want him to always believe in himself. And, it’s not easy. Honestly, it’s probably one of the hardest things he’ll ever do. But, as long as he believes in himself, he’ll always be “ready.” That doesn’t mean he won’t feel scared. Or, heartbroken. He might even feel lost. But, as long as he believes in himself, he’ll be ready to take that next step. 

I love you, Owen. Happy 13th birthday.