This is the final installment of my 4 Fears series. I hope you have adopted some new habits that help you organize your creative lives.
My age has affected me in a lot of ways in my career. When I worked in Columbus, I was always the youngest and least experienced people at my job. However, when I entered graduate school, I was one of the oldest students at 31-years-old. I realized how my experiences in life and work gave me a lot more wisdom than I realized.
I’ve come across people who are a little older and even a little younger than me who say they are too old to accomplish their dreams. Yes, I do believe that sometimes people miss out on their dreams because they wait too long to get them started. Don’t be one of those people! Even if you try and fail, use the wisdom of your efforts to keep making attempts at what is in your heart.
When I heard about the Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old woman who swam from Cuba to Florida, it reminded me of how age is never a barrier. Nyad attempted this swim five other times; the first time at the age of 28. So what was so different about this time?
With age comes experience, yes. But being older also gives another perspective on goals. When I was younger, I just wanted to be the best person in my field. Now I have a much better work ethic, I am more patient with myself and others and I have a more robust understanding of the world. My goals now center on what I can give to my community and not just being the most popular. I imagine Nyad had a better perspective on the significance of her dream, and better knowledge on how to manage the obstacles of the swim. She knew there would be extreme fatigue, sunburn and jellyfish. She could make the proper arrangements to minimize those things. Yes, it was still a challenge, but with age and wisdom, Nyad was able to accomplish something that youthful energy couldn’t do.
Sometimes people think that making it to the finish line is the dream. Money, fame or retirement is the goal. Well, I say the journey is the dream. Since becoming a professional writer, I have had some amazing experiences from meeting presidents, to being on TV and seeing laws change because of my stories. There have been plenty of times where I almost gave up on writing because of money or because I felt too old to be at a certain level in my career. But now that I have a different perspective on my career and what it means to people, I am honored to stay in the fight and progress.
Everything happens at its own pace, in its own time. There is no timetable anywhere that says we have to have our lives together by 25 or 30. Sure, set goals and make plans to do the things that are in your heart. But if they don’t happen, use your failures as fuel to keep you going.