Thinking you're too old

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Many people believe they're too old to accomplish their heart's desires or set new goals. Imagined obstacles of all kinds worm their way into their minds. People say, "It's too late to begin again and I'm too old to start something new."

I've always been angered by phrases like, "I'll never get hired anywhere else if I quit this job. It's too late to re-enter college and begin a new career. I can't learn as well as I used to because I'm getting old." Those beliefs can be genuine if a person is ill or lacks desire to pursue new challenges, but studies reveal chronological age, in itself, does not cause disability.

The largest contributing factor toward people's physical and mental decline is disease, not chronological age. Desiring and visualizing an objective is crucial in accomplishing feats that seem impossible at any age.

Above my desk at work and on my bathroom mirror hang two Scripture passages from which I have drawn courage throughout my life. And when I lack confidence in my ability to accomplish goals, or fear it may be too late to try to make changes, I heed these affirmations: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me." Phil. 4:13. And "with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27b.

Although one must use natural reason in determining how far to stretch those meanings, if you think you're too old to accomplish your desires, it becomes true because you've already defeated yourself in your mind. Before miracles can occur or prayers be answered, we must have faith that, truly, everything is possible with God.

When my children entered junior high I re-entered college to complete a degree I had begun after high school. I asked my brother, Joe, if he believed I was too old to go back to school. He answered with a question: "Will you be any older if you attend college than if you don't?" Wow! What a revelation! Today, I still remember that answer any time I wonder if it's too late to start over or begin something new.

Another question that provided invaluable insight to me was, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" I concluded I would be as old as I felt physically and mentally. Age was only a number.

When it comes to establishing new goals or pursuing new interests and relationships, I know I am only too old if I think I am. Regardless of my stage in life I am confident I shall never be too old to serve some purpose for God.

Ellen Shuck is director of religious education at St. Mary's Cathedral in Cape Girardeau.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: