“But I was 45!” I recently said to someone in order to explain how uprooting my family in the 90s was so much easier than it is today. That started me thinking. Why do we lose confidence as we age? Why are we more anxious, more fearful of change, new adventures, risk taking opportunities? Of course this isn’t a blanket statement. I’m sure there are exceptions. I know of some. Many people in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond have done incredible things worthy of our admiration. Putting aside these amazing humans, do the rest of us not stand a chance? Are we doomed to our living rooms, knitting, watching television, doing exercises, playing golf or painting with our fellow seniors? Ugh.
Where do we get the notion that we are too old for some things? Our American culture tells us that once we get past a certain age we shouldn’t or can’t do the things we did when we were younger. We shouldn’t expect to. In addition, our bodies often dictate what we can and cannot do anymore. In my case, there are things I used to do when younger that not only couldn’t I do today, but conveniently have no desire to do them!
Our families, especially our partners or spouses, either encourage us to do the things we want to do or gently remind us of our age, as if that alone should stop us. How we were raised to view ourselves; i.e., a strong sense of self or the opposite, also plays a critical role in our thinking.
Our achievements in life thus far give us the courage to try new things and take more risks. Our self talk is very important because we have a tendency to believe every word of it! “You’re too old to try that!” “You’ll hurt yourself!” “You’re not as smart as you used to be!”
All of this got me wondering. Why am I calling this big move so difficult? Why shouldn’t I believe I have all of the necessary resources at my disposal? That I am smart enough to handle the challenges that come with the territory. If anything, I am in a better position today than I was at 45. More life experience and more wisdom. The only thing holding me back is me!
We become more cautious as we get older because we are cognizant of all the possible negative outcomes. The younger we are, the more ignorant we are about the bad possibilities. With age comes not only the knowledge of what could go wrong but also how to fix it.
I say go for your dreams, regardless of age. Take that risk but do your research first. Answer all of the important questions. In other words, don’t jump off the high dive before checking to make sure there is water in the pool! But don’t make your only excuse, “I’m too old.” The time to stop living is when you stop breathing.
I’m going to refrain from calling this move scary and I’m going to call it a glorious adventure. Now all of you out there over 60, stop saying you’re too old and live your life!