If police officers and international footballers are starting to look like kids to you, you know you’ve reached that ‘certain age’. But, instead of stressing about getting there, I reckon we should celebrate making it.
It’s a great age: an age when you have more time to consider things and when you can spend more time doing the things you love, rather than the things you have to do. It’s an age when you even feel like you’re starting to gain some wisdom - or at least some perspective.
Sometimes we have to ask ourselves some of life’s really tough questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? How can I be the best that I can? What percentage of my potential do I normally achieve? And what is the main internal obstacle preventing me from achieving more?
For most of us the answer to that last question is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pushing outside the boundaries we draw around ourselves. When we realise that most of our boundaries are illusions, we can set ourselves free.
I’m convinced that it’s never too late to be what you might have been! It’s never too late to push through your boundaries … to open your mind … to make your own decisions … to do something great.
In case you think it might be too late for you, consider a few examples:
Consider Ray’s case. He was 52, diabetic, arthritic and had gall bladder and thyroid problems. He’d dropped out of high school, worked as a chalkie in a broker’s firm, sold paper cups, even tried his hand as a jazz musician. He was selling milkshake machines when he met two blokes named Mac and Dick who owned a restaurant. Ray saw the potential and followed his dream. Ray Krok bought the restaurant from the McDonald brothers and gave birth to the Golden Arches. It wasn’t too late.
It was never too late for Nelson Mandela either. He began his real career on the world stage at 72. And what an impact he has had and is still having!
Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister of Britain at the age of 65 and guided his nation through to victory in WWII at the age of 71. Coincidentally, both John Winston Howard and Edward Gough Whitlam were both 56 when they became Prime Minister.
My great friend, Stan Bisset, is about to turn 97. He’s one of the heroes of the Kokoda campaign and our oldest living Wallaby rugby international. Some circulation problems recently left him with a leg sore that wouldn’t heal. Did he lie back and accept it? No, he did what he always has done: thought positive. He checked things out on the net (yes, at 96!) and saw that some of the top footballers used hyperbaric chambers to improve blood flow for healing injuries. So he organised a couple of weeks’ treatment in the chamber and solved his problem. Now he’s working on a new exercise regime. It’s never too late.
The one thing which has changed dramatically over our lifetimes is the pace of change. A very wise man once wrote: “Some people don’t like change. Change couldn’t care less!”
It’s time to pause and reflect. Whatever our age, whatever our stage in life, it’s never too late to take control of our destinies, to rethink our priorities, to rekindle our passions and to chase our dreams … and, most importantly, to have fun doing it! Perhaps that bulging brain, Edward de Bono, summed it up best: “You can analyse the past but you have to design the future.”
It’s never too late to design your future!
(An article Patrick wrote for All About You, the magazine of the Queensland AMA)