Well June is in full swing! And boy is it HOT in Texas! One of my favorite parts about being Miss Gay America, is learning about different people's journey to excellence. Recently, while in Tennessee, I had coffee with an old friend of mine that was once an avid competitor at Miss Gay America, but had not returned in quite some time. She posed the question to me, "How do you know what you are too old to be able to grow and learn as Miss Gay America?"
I don’t know about you but I think I’m an education addict. It seems the more I learn, the more I want to know. It was bad enough when all I had to learn from were books and occasional live seminars. Now the opportunities for learning are limitless, and new ones seem to be invented every day. We have youtube, pintrest, eBooks, audios, CDs, DVDs, e-courses, e-zines, teleclasses, group coaching, and more. Yet, I’ve always looked on my addiction as something positive. To me, it demonstrates an open, curious, expandable mind. Its the same when competing for Miss Gay America. You know how it is when you read one book and it recommends another, so you read that one too. Or you’re directed to a website, and that links to another, and soon you’re off on a cyber journey. I truly believe that an educable mind is what keeps the mind young. Or instead of saying continuing learning keeps us young at heart, we can say it keeps us young at mind. And the older we get, the more we have to learn, because we’re continually learning lessons from our so called mistakes. We may arrive at a certain age and be totally aware of what hasn’t worked, but are still on a search for what will work.
Say, for example, you’ve been divorced. You most likely, took a good look at what went wrong and decided to do it differently next time. So every time you enter into a new relationship, you have a body of knowledge and experience to draw from to create a better outcome. Maybe you’ve read some books on relationships, or taken some courses, or even worked with a coach. As you continue learning from your mistakes and gain new knowledge, you have a much better chance of a different result. You may also pursue ongoing education to keep up with your business or career. Many industries have constant innovations, so it’s necessary to keep learning—new ideas, new skills, new technology. Pageantry is no different. Just make sure you aren’t using education as a form of procrastination. Some people, for example, seem to be waiting to start their new business until they read one more book, or take one more course, or consider one more opportunity. Learning new ideas and skills is exciting—just make sure you keep it in balance to the rest of your life. Keep up your ongoing education and turn your mistakes into learning opportunities. Life is one long classroom and you’re never too old to keep learning. And with all the knowledge you’ve gained, you may just want to give back. Volunteering as a teacher’s aide or mentor is a great use of all your knowledge.
It is never too late in life to be foolish and discover something new about yourself. Great advances have never come from the conventionally minded among us. It’s always comes from us idiots who believe in love and freedom and goodness and peace. The fools of today are the visionaries of tomorrow. Those crazy fools of the past gave us electricity, medicine, automobiles, a few trips to the moon and back, not to mention hair dye and microwave dinners. God bless them all. Can you imagine the Wright brothers thinking they could snub the laws of gravity and fly? Think about it. Many of us cower and shrink thinking we’re idiots for believing we can write a screenplay that sells. Fools dare to be alive, even on a Monday. Fools dare to take off their shoes, turn off the computer and walk outside into the sun. They know the power, healing, and strength of having fun. Fools dare to take off their thinking cap and try on their feelings fedora. Fools dare to try new things and do them badly. Fools dare to rest when they are tired. Fools dare to sing off key and they dare to sing on key in a voice that melts all separation. Fools dare to wander down interesting paths in their lives, take scenic routes and detours and stuff their bursting satchels with jewels. Fools dare to step into the river beyond the concrete structures of “how it’s always been done,” and allow themselves to be carried onto new and holy ground. Prudence and conservatism have not advanced our culture. Neither has sitting around think your time has come and gone. It took the voices on the outskirts to make a noise that changed the world. It’s taken a handful of rabble rousers to vote for women’s rights, freedom from slavery, and to oppose war, hunger, and hatred. It takes fools to raise awareness and fools to raise the bar. It takes fools to stir the hearts of mankind into becoming the great lovers and leaders we are meant to be. Every time we watch the Academy Awards or the Olympics, I think of all the “foolish dreamers” involved who believed they had something in them that deserved commitment, development, and a jostling chance. Every hero begins as fool.
So dare the ridicule of the narrow-minded and dim-sighted. Dare to still believe. Dare to feel. Dare to trust your guiding light. Dare to ignore gravity and take flight. Dare to be a hero. Dare to be a fool. You are never too old to learn, to grown, and to find yourself.