Thursday, December 10, 2009

Age is not a good excuse

In the last few weeks, I've heard people ranging in age from 18 to almost 60 say that something they wanted to do was impossible due to their age, that they were just too old to write or get in shape or learn new skills or reach some other completely achievable goal.

All those statements were complete and utter bullshit.

Oh, sure, there are things you cannot do, like become younger. You're also unlikely to become a world-class athlete starting late in life--but you could still participate in almost any sport. In all the recent statements I mentioned, not once was the task in question beyond the capabilities of the person speaking.

None of us can do everything, but each of us can sure do a lot of things. We just have to be willing to work at them and make the appropriate sacrifices for them. If I don't lose weight, which I certainly need to do, it's because I didn't rank that task high enough in my priority list or wasn't willing to suffer enough for the goal, or both. I have only myself to blame for things I don't accomplish, and that's true for most of us.

I grew up in a Florida neighborhood full of retirees. Some moved there seemingly to die; they did nothing every day, atrophied in mind and body, and vanished. Others stayed constantly busy. You couldn't guess to which of these groups a person would belong by that person's age; some of the most vital were in their eighties and nineties, while some of the sitting dead were in their early sixties.

If a goal is too costly to achieve, or if you're too busy and value the achievement too low for it to be worth seeking right now, fine; we all make those choices all the time. Just don't use your age as an excuse.

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