Monday, August 3, 2015

B115. Too Old and Don't Have Time!

“I just don’t have time.”
“I’m too old to start something new now.”

What is it that you would love to do, but it’s just too late for that, or you just don’t have the time? Well, before we let you off that easily, let’s talk!

Would you like to learn a new language, take a computer, carpentry, blue print reading, or painting class, write a book, take a cruise, adopt a child, pursue a teaching or a heating & air degree, dust off your old piano or guitar . . .?

I remember before I enrolled in seminary at the ripe old age of 27, thinking I was too old to be going back to school full-time. After all, I would be 30 before I graduated, and the other students would be just out of college. I was right about that part. I was older than many of the students, but what I didn’t realize then was that my additional years had also given me more passion for the studies and more life experience, making my seminary years richer than they would’ve been had I gone there earlier. And after graduating from there at age 30, I later graduated from another institution with another degree at age of 35; and now at 53 I look back and laugh at myself for ever thinking 30 and 35 were “too old”!

As a faculty member in a Community College I teach all ages of students.  In any given class I might have a 16-year-old student pursuing college credits as part of her high school degree, sitting beside a 75-year-old pursuing his later-in-life dream of learning a second language.  And I’ve found fairly consistently over the years that the students who have come back, often a little frightened at being “too old,” are also often the most focused, passionate, and successful students.

If we don’t pursue our dreams because we will be 35 or 55 or 85 when we complete them, we will still be 35 or 55 or 85, just without the dream!

I have a friend who just recently in her 40’s adopted her first child, and desiring a preschool education for him that wasn’t available locally, left her job, pursued her own certifications, bought a tract of land, got the community behind her vision, and opened her own school. When I was running, there was a local runner who must have had a room full of trophies, because she had few competitors in her over 80 age group. Another friend in her 50's recently started her own landscaping business.  Several others are writing and publishing their own books.  Another learned to swim late in life when MS took much of her other movement.

I think my mom was in her 30’s when she got her first bicycle and would go out after dark to teach herself to ride. A student in his 60’s and another in her 70’s are learning Spanish to communicate with their grandchildren.  A retired friend told me this week she’s thinking of taking a Spanish class so she can communicate with the children at her volunteer job.  Another friend took up landscape painting in her 60’s and 10 years later is one of the most respected art talents in the community. How old was Grandma Moses when she started painting?  What were the inaugural ages of all the U.S. Presidents? And you think you’re too old to start something new?

“But I just don’t have the time,” we like to say, and indeed, pursuing something new takes time, but if we’re honest, we all know that we find the time for whatever we really want to do. Each of us has exactly the same amount of hours in each day, and we structure our time with whatever priorities we choose: work, family, gaming, Facebook, TV, church activities, civic organizations, reading, children’s soccer games, volunteering . . . We design our own lives.

So what was that dream again? In five years we’ll still be 30 or 60 or 95 with or without having pursued it!

photo credit: tfaoi

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