Held Back by Excuses | Part III: Age
In light of our still relatively early positon in the calendar, what’s not more optimal time-wise than making desired changes in our lives? And the changes do not need to be monumental in scope. Sometimes the tiniest tweak yields the greatest results overtime. The trick to begin again and again and again… But first, let’s cure the third excuse that too often creeps into our lives, crippling blooming desires and inspired visions: the age excuse.
Age is a relative thing. A wise person once said that we are as old as we feel, but many still use the number of earth’s revolutions around the sun since their birth as an excuse not to follow the subtle or screaming call of their soul. Despite feeling miserable in their current situation, too many people continue to choose the status quo. They choose familiarity rather than taking a leap, often at the peril of whole societies who would benefit greatly from another inspired soul doing inspired work.
The most two types of age excusitis are: I’m too old and I’m too young. It is amazing how few people when asked, feel they are just the right age. And even if there was such thing, according to the findings, it would be a rather narrow funnel. And that is an unfortunate thing, because it makes people shut off opportunities before even giving something a try.
The ‘too old’ excuse is most common and, if you take a look around, the message is propagated throughout our media. We live in a youth glorifying culture. It weighs down upon many and is a whole topic to explore. The sad part is that those who actually have managed to accumulate valuable experience, rather than being empowered to participate more and help guide the young, are shoved to the side. This robs society of massive amounts of wisdom that cannot be easily replicated. Again, this is a long subject.
One way to cure this nasty bug is by utilizing an interesting equation, Dr. Schwartz uses in his example to convince a forty-year-old man that yes, he still has plenty of time to reinvent himself and his life. The equation goes like this: consider the beginning and end of a woman’s or man’s productive life. Say it begins around twenty and ends around seventy. This gives a person roughly fifty years to explore all sorts of possibilities, practice their craft and/or search for their true purpose. That’s a lot of time! Schwartz’s colleague had thirty years left. Even if someone is in their sixties, there is still room for reinvention!
To tackle the other side of the problem, the less common but no less insidious ‘I’m too young’ conundrum, the author writes about a young man in his mid twenties who was promoted to a managerial role where most of his team would be much older than he was. Rather than rejoicing, the young man felt handicapped by his new predicament and sought advice. I loved what Dr. Schwartz served him: Rather than taking advantage of his status, he should show respect for his teammates, ask them advice and make them feel appreciated. He added, “Back on the farm a boy became a man when he proved he could do the work of a man.”
Over the holidays, my sisters and I watched a childhood home video we have not seen for over fifteen years. In it, my dad is recording sixteen-year-old me playing an electric guitar. I was amazed watching the film, at how well I could play, even though back then I thought I totally sucked. So when I came to the US, I gave up playing. But in hindsight, had I continued, maybe my dream of touring the world with a rock band could have come true? It was similar with writing, something I took on in my late twenties. There were moments I wanted to give up, but I persevered and moved through the wall. Even now, I know it was a worthy investment.
So I dare you, let go of the age lie and get to work. A whole other future might be waiting, and you’ll never know unless you do something about it now. And it shouldn’t even matter when the goals are reached. It should be a fluid thing, giving joy when immersed in practice, not to mention savoring the sweetness of small achievements along the way. It is about the journey after all… So go for it! Make it a year where you reach high for your dreams and by doing what it takes, ground them in reality.