This morning I was waiting for my car repairs to be completed when I inadvertently overheard a young man reporting on the status of a new hire. He advised that this employee was an “older man” and they were worried about his capacity to learn. The young man indicated that they were pleased that he did grasp the concepts, that they were surprised at his abilities.
Had I started laughing, I would have disclosed that I was intentionally or unintentionally listening to his discourse. Of course, I didn’t do anything. But I was amused, not only because of the insult to seniors but also because I had been thinking about this subject earlier in the day.
Sometimes I wonder if there is a chart or clipboard that designates actions as age-appropriate or not. There must be one for teachers because I often hear students indicate that someone is “too old to teach.” If that’s true, we must have other measurements that are available to those keeping track.
When does someone get too old to run or walk races? Someone had better alert the remarkable lady in her 90s who has run many marathons. When does someone get too old to learn another language? And when do we get too old to learn to be chefs, volunteer in the community, sing in choirs, experience cosmetic surgery or open an exciting new business? The world is full of stories about men and women in their 70s, 80s and 90s who do all of these things and more.
As we age, we have two options. One is to consider age merely as reality and the other is to consider it as a reason to do whatever we choose. You won’t hear any platitudes from me about taking chances, living life to the fullest or any garbage. What you will hear is my express encouragement to do what you can and want to do. Take all the chances that you can.
This is the same as my urging children not to limit their dreams. If you can’t see the age-appropriate clipboard, so much the better. Pushing limits always inspires those around you. Shalom.