***Woo busy few weeks… Grandma Visit, Easter… I promise to get back into the swing***
Potential. What does it mean to “have potential”? To “tap into potential”? To “waste potential”?
Through out my life I have often wondered what my own potential truly was. Have I actually found a path that uses my potential the best way? Is the potential gone after I chose my path?
Potential as a word has a few definitions:
- having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
- latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
- the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.
Well… we can ignore the last one (I am not a whiz with physics). For my use here I am focusing on the first two. In high school there is a lot of discussion about your potential – your capacity to become something in the future. What direction is your life going to take as you reach adulthood? Now, I was told I could become pretty much anything I wanted… which was sweet. Though, thankfully, my Dad did suggest not a doctor (I am queasy about blood), maybe not something that requires strong knowledge in the sciences (yah… not something I excelled at) and possibly NOT maths (yah I have a hate hate relationship with higher level math… if it doesn’t hurt me, I won’t curse it out… much).
So… I went from high school to college and a direction in the fine arts. I found I had a lot of “potential” with courses that required a bending of thought and discussion… philosophy and religion. I found a direction – I PLANNED to become a minister in the Lutheran church (specifically the ELCIC – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Potential tapped… right?
Ok, some come along with me here – I think EVERYONE reading this blog has realized something – Lisa is NOT a minister… or a philosopher… or a religious scholar… or (and this is grasping) a university professor in any of these disciplines. Nope, 100% wife and mother. So answer me this…
Did I waste my potential?
Who I was in high school with her interests and dreams and graduating marks, who I was in college with my wide eyed enthusiasm and excelling marks… did these “Lisas” get wasted? Or has it gone into hibernation waiting to be tapped?
Where 20 yr old Lisa was sure she would be a minister… 37 yr old Lisa is sure she is a good mother, a strong teacher, a rather fantastic crocheter (if I do say so myself). She has tapped into a NEW potential, something that was not held up as a solid opportunity way back in high school (because really, motherhood at 17/18 years old… nope not for me). I don’t believe I wasted it, I tapped into my potential for those 3+ years. I learned, I grew, I argued, I laughed and cried. BUT, in the end, I found NEW potential.
I found those latent (existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed) qualities that were not tapped by my college education with our decision to start a family. Do I regret it? Nope! Amazingly enough, I filled my yearning for working in the church with committee work and promptly learned – I suck at politics. And, as much as I love the church, in any organization there are politics.
On top of that… and this should be no surprise for people who know me, I am shy!
No, I don’t think I wasted my potential. Would someone from the outside looking in come to a different conclusion… possibly. But here is a new question for you – does that matter? Often you will hear people talking about someone’s wasted potential. How they SHOULD have done this or that instead of the career they chose based on their own knowledge of that person at particular times of the person’s life.
She should have gone with that career in writing, after all in college she wrote such amazing papers. He should have gone into medicine, look at his amazing marks in science. They would have made an amazing singing group – after all they did all that singing in small bars during college.
The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, comes to mind. Looking at his or her life as a youth, as a college student it may look as if they SHOULD have gone this way or that, but can we ever truly be in another person’s head? This is something that Ken has to deal with often. Depression, plus high intelligence and add in a strong personality and you have someone with lots of potential.
That potential is there with options. Some are absolutely obvious, some deep inside and kept secret. Using Ken as an example (cuz… Depression = Ken = my examples) he was an athlete up through to college and rather successful (this was known), he was and is very good with computers, but deep inside that muddled head of his is an artist, a bit of a scientist, maybe even a comedian.
So… let’s review what he did with his potential. Sports ended before we got married (choice and illness). Computers continued through to today. Art is something that he toys with and need to come back to again (again choice) and scientist has gone by the way-side.
So has he lost potential? Wasted it? Well, we came to realize now that sports/athletics were actually negatively impacting Ken’s mental health. Competition on that level and the stress to his body was not helping his inner dialogue. Of course, on the outside he broke records, played hard and won. BUT while everyone watched that potential being tapped a whole new potential was brewing underneath – the potential to lead to self harm, depression and possibly death.
Direction changed to computers, which has morphed now into the much healthier (due to having to be accountable daily to many and face to face communication) project manager. Project manager may not seem like the height of tapping potential but I am sitting here watching him grow and excel.
So, while some may say he had so much potential, I see it as he has so much adapting potential. KEN has adapted to a whole new lifestyle post depression, he has adapted to our family as it has grown, found a career that makes him the best he can be and stretches his limits. No, he is not an athlete, or a scientist or currently an artist BUT he is Ken. Amazing, ambitious, unique Ken.
So we have each tapped some potential and are always looking to find more. That is the other thing. So I am a mother, but I found a new potential in crochet, and I am not half bad at the recorder, maybe the piano will be some untapped potential I never even knew I had! That cannot be wasted if I never knew it existed, right?
Together Ken and I have the potential to be amazing, I kinda think we already are… just a bit! After all, humans are creatures of change even as we fight to stay the same. So, doesn’t it mean that our potential is ever changing, ever growing and morphing into something new? Now, I doubt I will ever have the potential to be a fighter pilot (ACK heights) or a sumo wrestler, but who knows, maybe… years down the line… you will come to read about Lisa the biblical scholar and Ken the divine artist?
After all, depression or no, personal limitations or not, our potential is there! And we ALL have the potential for greatness on some scale or another. So be that great person – after all… I already know you ARE!!!!