You’re Not Too Old; You’re Too Scared

It bugs me when people tell me they’d really like to do a thing but won’t because they’re ‘too old.' There are very few things in this world that you can be too old for. Having babies was long considered one, but as women over 50 are birthing children, even that isn’t true. The oldest known age for birthing a child is 66. Imagine that for a retirement gift! The mother’s name was Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara. After she became an activist for the rights of older mothers, so clearly 66 isn’t too old to be an activist either. 

There are people in their 80s still playing hockey. Maybe they aren’t NHLers, but they’re still enjoying the game. Speaking of NHL players, it’s not that uncommon for them to continue playing in their late 40s and early 50s. So maybe they aren’t starting at that age as an NHL player, but there’s no reason you can’t learn to play as an adult if you want to. It won’t be easy, but the most worthwhile things in life never are in my experience.

In her eighties, my grandmother was still challenging her grand kids to races. There are 90-somethings running full marathons

What about something more extreme like roller derby? Well, many women and men are enjoying that sport over age 40 and 50. And a lot of them didn’t even know how to skate when they started. They fight through the bruises and work their tails off to make it through skills testing.

All right, so maybe you couldn’t care less about sports and acting is more your thing. Many brilliant actors start late. Alan Rickman was 32 by the time he started his career. Steven Seagull was 36. I had to mention him because my mom loves him. Estelle Getty from the Golden Girls started at age 55. Murray Gershenz began his acting career at age 79 on Will & Grace, and he’s been in many movies since such as The Onion Movie and The Hangover.

Maybe you’re thinking of music? Piano, perhaps? Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer was still playing at age 109. In my city, it’s quite common for folks in their eighties to start learning an instrument.

When I first moved to Ottawa, Ontario I was shopping around for martial arts schools and tried a few out. At one of the Aikido dojos, there was a man in his eighties who was just beginning his career in martial arts. He was doing break falls and throws. Now, he’d take more breaks than the young ones, but he was there learning something new despite a body that was failing him.

What about learning a new language? Good news! Anyone can learn a new language at any age

Or maybe you’re thinking about joining the Special Forces? In Canada, there isn’t a maximum age listed. I assume if you can pass the requirements, you can join. Get your butt to the gym and get a personal trainer to help you get ready.

Maybe you think you’re too old to do something really amazing, though? Here’s a secret: People who do great things don’t often set out with that as their goal. J.K. Rowling certainly didn’t have the slightest idea Harry Potter would become what it became. She received 12 rejections. Did she give up? No. She kept trying and kept writing. Stephen King was also rejected many times.

Maybe you are facing extra challenges due to a medical condition? Venus Williams has Sjögren’s Syndrome and some days it wins, but she keeps playing Tennis. Terry Fox attempted to run across Canada while battling cancer that had already claimed one of his legs. Jimmy Kimmel has Narcolepsy. Selena Gomez has lupus. Tom Hanks has diabetes. Montel Williams has Multiple Sclerosis.

There are a lot of people who continue to play sports despite becoming wheelchair bound. I know a one-legged swordsman who is better than many who have both of their legs. I know a man who lost the bottom of both his legs who continues to do the things he loves. This gymnast has no legs. Paul Smith has severe cerebral palsy yet creates stunning works of art using a typewriter.  Another artist, John Bramblitt, creates masterpieces and he can’t even see

Ottawa’s butterfly boy, Jonathan Pitre, played hockey as long as he could until the pain became too much for him. His skin falls off with very little contact. There are people whose skeletons fuse together. Eventually, they become imprisoned in their own bodies and truly can’t do anything. 

If it’s money holding you back, find a legal way (preferably also a morally responsible way) to get some cash. Deliver newspapers, sell Avon, flip burgers, whatever will fund your endeavor. And hey, we live in the world of crowd-funded projects today. The money is out there.

If you don’t think you have time. Here’s another secret: People don’t usually have time to chase their dreams; they make the time. Maybe they write early in the morning before the kids are up and on their lunch breaks at work. If you want something, you’ll make room for it in your life no matter how challenging your schedule is to work with. This goes for relationships too.

Go do that thing that scares you unless it’s sure to kill you like jumping out of a plane with no parachute. Perhaps, don’t do that. Talk to that hot guy or girl. Write that story that’s yearning to be free. Sing your heart out. Take that trip you’ve been talking about for ages. Learn that new sport or language or whatever it is that has piqued your interest. We are on this planet for such a small amount of time, and there are too many fantastic things all around us to sit around dreaming. If that thing you want isn’t harmful to you or someone else, stop holding yourself back, stop making excuses, and start living your dreams.

Ciao,
R~

Published by Raeanne Roy