…So wrote the poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1865 about a beautiful, brown-eyed girl with long lashes in a tattered gown from the country, merrily singing with a voice like a song-bird, raking hay in a field. She was content but longed for a life without want. Along came a wealthy young judge riding on his chestnut horse and admiring the beautiful fields and longing for a simpler life, away from the expectations of the lawyers and his family. He stopped at a spring to get some water and the young maiden stooped down to get him a cool drink of water to quench his thirst. They spoke briefly and pondered internally about the life of the other. Then the judge mounts his steed and rides down the country rode. They never met again, but after marriage and life had taken them down different roads they contemplated how their lives might have been different if they had started a relationship that summer day years ago. Then Whittier writes those famous words, “God pity them both! And pity us all, | Who vainly the dreams of youth recall. | For of all sad words of tongue or pen, | The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
While I personally believe in a Hand of Providence, I also believe that “men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause”
Put yourself out there and take a calculated risk. If you try and fail, you won’t have to wonder “what if” for the rest of your life and you will gain some valuable experience for the next time.
I have taken a few risks in my life and I failed. I once built a home during the housing bubble (my first mistake) and priced it a little higher than market rate. It didn’t sell and I ended up losing a significant amount of money in the process. It did teach me about watching the market and making sure that I price to sell and make several good sells instead of one, great big sell. This has proved good advice for other aspects of my life, over and over and continues to lead me to make good decisions. I’m glad I was able to make the mistake when I was younger. Fortunately, that experience didn’t completely taint my love for construction, and I have been able to continue a career in the construction business. I am a builder. I love building people, businesses and buildings.
That is one of the reasons why I continue to look for opportunities to grow myself and others and I like the idea of helping people accomplish their dreams. It takes hard work and dedication, but you can either have a plan and follow the plan and have a firm destination or let the river of life take you down its course, perhaps never really getting to the place you imagined. So, Dream. Plan. Do. “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, | The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
Lounsbury, T. R. (1912). Yale Book of American Verse. (T. R. Lounsbury, Ed.) New Haven, Connecticut, USA: Yale University Press; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/102/. [11 January 2019]