The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on June 2, 2011.

I can’t wait to tell you about the crazy lady from Wisconsin. But there are a few other things you need to know about her first.

One is that she gave me not only her permission, but her encouragement to write about her. I think she knows what an inspiration and role model she can be for others, and she is happy to do so. As a former teacher, she knows what a gift that is, and it’s a gift she’s proud and honored to share.

The other thing you need to know about her is that she’s the one who describes herself as the crazy lady from Wisconsin. I use that reference now as a term of endearment and delight.

She comes from a small town and a big family. She grew up on a farm, and knows all about hard work, about fighting for what you want – or even for your “fair share” – and about appreciating what you have and the gifts you’re given.

I’ve spoken to her on the phone several times, and we’ve met in person just once so far, but we have so many attitudes and attributes in common that it feels as if I’ve known her for years. I’m looking forward to spending much more time with her and getting to know her better. I’m certain that I’ll learn a lot from her, as I hope she will from me.

She called me not long ago because she was at a presentation I once gave about finding your buried treasure, and she wanted to talk about Dream Coaching.

“I know there are still some gifts and talents inside of me that I’m not fully using,” she said. “And I want to start. I don’t want to waste them.”

By the way, did I mention that she’s in her late 70s?

She doesn’t focus on her age, however. She focuses on the fact that she’s got 25 good years ahead of her, and she wants to make the most of them. Personally, I think she’s underestimating the number of years in her future, and I sincerely believe she’ll be going strong for a long, long time. Even now, I suspect that if I challenged her to a footrace she would leave me in the dust. But I would push myself to catch up with her, or at least to keep her in my sights. She’s someone I don’t want to lose track of.

A while back, I met with a potential new Dream Coaching client who was wondering if he were too old – I think he was in his 40s – to start pursuing new dreams and exploring new avenues. Although I assured him he wasn’t – and I gave him my own experience as an example – he decided not to pursue coaching at that time. Although there could have been any number of reasons for his decision, I hope that it wasn’t, indeed, because of his age. What a waste that would have been!

George Eliot once said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” and John Barrymore said, “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” No matter what age we are, we’re young enough to set out on new adventures, explore new paths, and make grand and brilliant new discoveries. We can still become who we might have been, whether we are now in our 20s, our 50s, our 70s, or beyond.

This is something I absolutely know to be true, although I find myself forgetting it every now and then – especially when I’m starting to feel my age, or when I start second-guessing myself or wondering whether I’ll really be able to accomplish the things I set out to do. Now, though, whenever that happens I will have a much easier time getting back on track, refocusing, and reminding myself of everything I’m capable of and everything I’m still going to do. All I have to do is look at my new friend and client – the crazy lady from Wisconsin.

© Betty Liedtke, 2011