Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Unfulfilled Potentials

(Nothing much going on and I'm lacking in inspiration, so here's a post I wrote in my IF blog he he...)
Was talking to my closest friends about different topics and we ended up talking about unfulfilled potentials. One friend said that when she saw great pianists, she always wondered what would have happened if she had been more focused on learning the piano when she was younger. She said that as she grew older, in a way it got a little tougher to accept the fact that she may not be fulfilling her potential as a pianist because she had less and less time to reach that dream. In the past if she saw great pianists, she felt more inspired and encouraged to follow that dream because it seemed that there was still ample time to do so. However, she also said that hopefully as she grew older, she would be wiser to accept the facts about unfulfilled potentials in any area of life. 
I suddenly started thinking about infertility and motherhood. I told her that for me, motherhood was similar to her pianist dream. I don't actually know for sure how much "potential" I have to be a mother, but it was a dream I had for a certain period of time.
In my simplistic mind, when talking about unfulfilled potentials, you'd either have to do something about it or let it go. Letting it go also means accepting the fact that at the end of the day, maybe you'll only have fulfilled your potential until P instead of Z. In another life (so to speak), you may have made different choices and you may be able to fulfill that particular potential fully (or in a higher level than this life), but we've only got one life to live, so that's that. And we'll never know for sure anyway if in another life we'll be able to reach that potential more fully.
In my family, my brother is the more musical one. He took organ lessons when he was younger and the teacher said he was talented. He was in the course for years and then he stopped for a while, then continued it again for a while and for a period of time, my Mom was feeling sad because she felt that he could do more with his musical talents. Then when he was at the uni, he picked up the guitar and bass guitar and nowadays he plays bass guitar at church. In another life, he may be able to perform in stages or produce music by himself. Who knows? But this is his only life and he's made choices and he loves playing guitar/bass guitar at church. 
When speaking about possibilities and unfulfilled potentials, there are too many unknown factors. R2 and I have made our choices and we have to live with it. In another life, we may be trying out something else at the moment, but in this life, I'm content to be where I am - even though every now and then I'm reminded of "my unfulfilled potential" that may be painful, but I'm THANKFUL for the lessons that IF has brought, because through IF I'm given a chance to learn more:
1. How to love myself despite myself.
2. That God's grace is enough.
3. More than ever before I know that God understands my pains and He cares, even though I've yelled at Him and accused Him of being unjust. 
4. That I've married the right guy.
5. The painful lesson of letting go and letting God.


  1. This was such a thought-provoking post. I'm still not sure how I feel about unfulfilled potential. In one way, you could consider talent a gift that you have a responsibility to nurture. On the other hand, I have come to believe that the whole point of life is to live a fulfilling and happy life, and that doing this might involve choosing a road that leads you away from potential you might have in another direction. I think it's important to trust your gut feeling and take the road you think is right for you, even if it means turning your back on unfulfilled potential.

  2. @Katriina: It's definitely not an easy subject to cover. Unfulfilled potential is tricky, isn't it? THANKS for sharing your POV. :-)))

    I've always loved this quote on success (wrongly attributed to Emerson):

    To laugh often and much;
    To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
    To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
    This is to have succeeded.

  3. I think sometimes it helps me to remind myself that potential doesn't equal destiny. That is where letting go and letting God comes in, as you mentioned. The Apostle Paul may have had the potential to be the best tent maker in the world. He could have, perhaps, made the tents for all the royalty and power of the Roman Empire. But, instead he walked around started churches and wrote a lot of instructional letters. Did he live up to his potential? I guess it depends on who you ask. ;)

  4. @Jeff: I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment. THANKS for dropping by and sharing your POV. :-D I'm gonna nick it and put it on FB hi hi hi...

  5. I agree with Jeff, even though I'm not a believer.

    We all have potential in multiple skill areas, and it's up to use to choose which ones we want to pursue. Sometimes that choice is made for us in one way or another (I never had the choice to be a world class dance, for example). The same goes for pretty much everything.

    From what I know of you, your potential is practically boundless. I'm sorry that you feel as if you haven't been able to fulfill your potential in one way that has been so important to you. Still, all those other potentials are presently waiting for fulfillment. You even managed to fulfill a piece of very important potential in your IF experience, and that is to learn valuable things from difficult life events. That's a potential I greatly admire.

    I hate to sound like a self-help book, but I always admire people with the capacity to learn. :)

  6. @Elena: THANKS for sharing your POV, Elena.

    About the "potential" to be a mother, I just wrote it so that others can relate "more easily" to what IFers feel. I'm not hurting the way I used to anymore, so don't you worry. :-))) THANKS for being so thoughtful and encouraging, though. :-)))