"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength."
- Betty Friedan
I often hear people say that they are too old to do one thing or another. They’ll say, “I’d do it, but I’m too old now.” I can’t help but speculate that many of these same folks at some point in the past used being too young as an excuse not to not take some action. Being sick or injured is a legitimate reason not to engage in certain activities, but having been walking around on the planet a little longer than other people is not a legitimate reason to stop living.
Age is a relative measure and has little meaning in an of itself-it’s just a number. A nine year old is old to a five year old--so what. The only two states that matter are alive and dead. If you are alive, you have more time and aren’t too old to do what you decide to do.
Despite what many people mistakenly believe, our brains are elastic and flexible throughout our lives. As neuroscientist, Michael Merzenich said, “you name the ability and you can drive improvement out of it independent of age.”
Why would we ever tell ourselves that we’re too old to do what we’d like to do? There are enough barriers in the world already, there’s no need for you to invent more out of thin air.
The real problem we face isn’t aging, it’s excuse-making. When we are children, we have less choices--we normally don’t get to decide whether we want to go to school for example. As adults, we can choose to be lazy and unfortunately many of us do. In order to thrive and lead fulfilling lives, we have to resist adult onset laziness.