When was the last time your age stopped you from doing something? For me it was recently when I was wearing a particular outfit, and I saw the look of horror on my teenage daughter’s face. My brain doesn’t even have to catch up with the notion that I’m too old for something. I have kids who take care of that for me. (Sometimes I take great pleasure in “not acting my age” just to get under their skin!)
Perhaps there are situations when age really matters. I don’t want to look like a complete fool or injure myself. But how often do we use age as a reason or an excuse for not really going for it? Whatever “it” happens to be. Sometimes we look at a younger person who’s achieving something great, something that we want to achieve. It’s hard not to become disheartened if we believe we can’t accomplish this same great thing as fast, as easily, or at all.
As the years float by, inertia creeps in on tiny cat feet. To break out of our circle of comfort and familiarity, we have to take bold action. But trying something new and changing our perspective is like budging a rusty hinge. Where’s that oil can?
So here’s where the rubber meets the road. Whatever age you happen to be, realize that you have a finite number of days left to do the things you want to do. Go ahead, count them up. Let’s say you live to be 85. You can do the math. Seeing that number on paper forces you to grasp that every single day is a gift. Don’t waste one of them moping around or watching another episode of The Simpson’s. Wake up before it’s too late!
So here’s what I suggest you to do to get the ball rolling:
1. Write a Bucket List
Get some paper and create six columns. Write down the following headings for each column: relationships, career, travel, lifestyle, accomplishments, and altruism. If you think of another category, add it to the heading. Now think of every possible thing you’d like to do related to each category before you die, and write them down under the appropriate heading.
2. Perform Triage
Go through your list and pick the most important goal in each category. Keep doing this until you have prioritized each category. If there are two or three of equal importance, then just order them randomly.
3. Pick Two
From your list of most important goals, pick two — one that is really challenging or scary and one that’s easy. On another paper, write down all of the action steps you’d need to take to accomplish both of these goals. Think of everything, even possible roadblocks or problems you might encounter along the way.
4. Commit Some Time
Commit to some amount of time every day or every week to completing your action steps for both goals. If you can commit to an hour a day, that’s wonderful. If not, commit to something. You’ll probably achieve your easier goal before the harder one, but that success should motivate you to keep going. Pick another easy goal and create action steps to begin working on it.
5. Try Not To Think About It
Just do it. Don’t think about the obstacles, your fears, or your age. Just keep working on the action steps. Worrying hinders action. Action creates results.
If you start to lose motivation, don’t worry. Just keep taking the actions anyway. But if you’d like a little inspiration, look at what these old creekers accomplished:
-Alice Porlock of Great Britain published her first book, Portrait of My Victorian Youth, when she was 102 years old.
-At age 98, Harold Mark Foster of Owensboro, KY, began learning to read.
-Nola Ochs, age 95, became the oldest person to receive a college diploma, a degree in general studies with an emphasis on history.
-Allan Stewart of New South Wales completed a Bachelor of Laws degree at age 91 from the University of New England. He said he finished what would have normally been a six-year degree in four and a half years “because of my age.”
-At age 87, Francis Peyton Rous became the oldest Nobel Prize laureate.
-At age 84, Mae West starred in the movie Sextette.
-Venus Ramey, 82, balanced on her walker and fired her handgun to shoot out an intruder’s tires. Ramey, winner of the 1944 Miss America pageant, confronted the man on her Kentucky farm and disabled his vehicle so he couldn’t escape. (Don’t you just love this one?)
-At 77, Grandma Moses started painting.
-Ronald Reagan was reelected President of the United States at age 73.
So you see, whatever you want to do, just go do it. It’s never too late.