When I was little, I was obsessed with horses. I remember being about three or four years old and calling my mom into my room after I’d been tucked into bed to tell her that I wanted to have a golden horse with a white mane and I would name him Goldie. He could live in our backyard.
Since we lived in the city at the time and our backyard was the size of a postage stamp, that was unlikely to happen. (Nevermind the one million other things about that scenario that made it impossible.)
We moved out of the city when I was about 7 years old, to what was, in my opinion at least, a VERY rural town. One of the first mornings after we moved into our house, I woke up and looked out the window and there, standing in my enormous, tree-filled yard, was a horse. I was absolutely certain my dream had come true. My poor mother when she had to explain that NO, that was not my horse, and then she had to figure out where the heck the thing had actually come from and how to get it back where it belonged. (It turned out to be a neighbor’s horse that had gotten free.)
Then, when I was nine, my parents signed me up for horseback riding lessons as my birthday gift. To this day, I swear it was one of the best presents I’ve ever received. I loved every single solitary minute of it. Even the minutes spent scraping horse poop off the horse’s hooves. I rode for about a year, but it wasn’t easy for my mom. My middle sister was A) terrified of horses and spent the entire time we were there clinging to my mom to get away from the horses, and B) allergic to horses so had an asthma attack half the times we went to the barn. My baby sister was A) 18 months old and in love with the horses so spent the whole time trying to touch/climb on/ride them, and b) 18 months old and hard to keep from running amok in the stables amidst the horses she loved and the occasional piles of poop. It was just too hard for my parents to make it work, and after a year, I stopped riding.
I have sworn since then that as an adult, I would ride again. But then I went to college and joined the Army and got married and had four kids. And it just wasn’t a realistic option.
But now…all my kids are in school all day. I work from home. And I live in England, a country in which horses, it seems, are a way of life. And so I’ve started taking riding lessons again. It is every single bit as awesome as it was when I was nine and I would go every day, all day if I could.
Sometimes I am sad if I think about all the years I could have been riding and wasn’t. But to be honest, I don’t know if I would be as grateful that I can ride now if I’d been doing it all along. I would probably have taken it for granted. Now that I’ve spent a lifetime wishing for it, I am so much more aware of how amazing it is that I get to actually do it.
I love it. Even the poop-covered parts. And it was totally worth the wait.
If there is something you’ve always wanted to do and just never did, trust me on this one, find a way to make it happen. You won’t regret it.