“Laughter is timeless.
Imagination has no age.
And dreams are forever.”
– Walt Disney
How many times have you heard the phrase “Oh, I’m too old for that”?
And how many times have you yourself used that very phrase? Probably a lot.
We tend to believe that we’re supposed to get a specific job by a certain age, get married by a certain age, have kids by a certain age, and retire by a certain age. We are run through this rigid concept of how life is “supposed to be” without much thought as to what we want out of life.
This isn’t to say any of these are a bad thing and this isn’t to say that we should be putting things off, but we do tend to stress out about where we are in life at a given time. We constantly rate ourselves on where we are at any given point in life based on these constraints.
The retired individual doesn’t need to stop improving him or herself just because the job this person has been working the majority of his or her life ends – of course not. No one’s dreams live and die with the job they’ve been doing for the past 30 or so years.
Albert Einstein was still working while he was on his deathbed. Thomas Edison didn’t stop inventing things after developing the light bulb. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was working on philosophical and mathematical pursuits up until his very last breath.
But don’t just take it from me, Joanne Guidoccio, a retired math teacher of 30 years, has found a new calling as a writer, finding success in writing articles, short stories, book reviews, and novels. She speaks of how people were surprised at her choice to continue forward in life even though she had retired and especially in a field that was not very familiar to her. Despite other’s skepticism Guidoccio managed to open her mind, take the necessary steps involved in sharpening her writing skills, and find success in her unique ideas.
Even after deciding she wanted to write she never truly considered writing fantasy an option, and yet when she was struggling with writing novels, she again opened her mind and took a workshop on dark fantasy and horror which led to the debut of her first novel Between Land and Sea.
Guidoccio has three pieces of advice for applicable to not just those who feel they are too old to chase their dreams, but also for those who are just beginning to form their dreams:
– Take the necessary steps to learn and excel at your passion
– Don’t keep your projects a secret
– Enforce Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule practicing a specific task or skill for 10,000 hours.
We spend a lot of time throwing up roadblocks of why we can’t do things and not enough time working on accomplishing those things we think impossible.
Age shouldn’t stop us from working toward accomplishing our dreams. Don’t give up on yourself just because you think you’re too old for that, you might just be surprised.