How I Missed the Boat from my Teens Through my Thirties

Today’s prompt had me in deep thought. If I could go back to a crossroads to avoid missing an opportunity, what would I change? I would have cultivated my listening skills more. What’s passed is passed but I can still save the rest of my 40’s anyhow.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Reach.”


I see the buffalo as strong and silent, fitting traits to meditate as I work to be a good listener.

Since I don’t have any regrets about the path I chose, I’ll write about an attribute, a personality trait I failed to cultivate adequately: listening. I spent my teens and twenties nervously correcting people, even though my heart was in the right place. I learned from church as well as from my parents to be “slow to speak” but I rarely followed that advice.

Now at 46 it’s a perfect time to put more listening into practice. It’s never too late to develop a better practice of deeply listening to others. There is a wealth of information right at arm’s length 360 degrees around us. The hardest part for me is to slow down and be approachable. When I have listened completely and fully to another, I am made better and more empathetic as a citizen of the world.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

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