Squandered Potential?

What is potential? Can it be squandered? And who has the right to determine if it’s been squandered?

Here’s why I ask. I have a friend I have known since high school. I thought we were good friends, in that we both went to the other’s house on occasion and talked and did group work together. And we had mutual friends. However, as these things often go, we fell out of touch.

But I always thought of her as someone who would do well in the world. She was smart and went to university for engineering. Or at least I think she did. Whatever she went in for, it was something that would have been able to help her find a good job in a field with challenges, but challenges she would have no trouble overcoming.

However, now things have changed in her life and I can’t help think she’s squandering the potential she once had.

Fine, I will admit getting pregnant and having a baby isn’t going to ruin your potential. Even an accidental pregnancy isn’t a disaster. It may slow it down, or put up a speed bump, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It’s just something to be overcome.

And it’s something I thought she could overcome. She’s got a good husband, if what I remember of him still stands. He would be able to fill in and support her as she realized her potential. In fact, I firmly believe the two of them, despite the setbacks they had experienced, would be able to come out of this stronger.

Now, I’m not so sure. I don’t know what he’s up to exactly (i.e. at all), but she has seriously slipped from what I thought of her. Instead of following through on her potential as I saw it, she’s a hair and make-up artist. And for me, it just doesn’t jive with what I know of her. Or of what I thought I knew of her.

Don’t get me wrong. If she’s happy with what she’s doing, then all power to her. Ultimately, she doesn’t have to answer to anyone but herself. But I just think she could do a lot better. I just think this is a step down.

So back to my original question. What is potential? How do we measure if someone has fulfilled it? Who has the right to decide if someone has lived up to his/her potential?

Oh, and it’s my birthday. Hooray!