“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
This April I turned (gasp) 40.
The event passed with little fanfare, mainly due to my reluctance to acknowledge that number with a unique celebration often fitting this milestone.
And though it’s been over a month since my 40th birthday, today was the very first time I actually admitted my age to the people I work with.
The words seemed strange being uttered from my mouth. My age is something I try and keep to myself – not because I’m ashamed of the number (or the gray hairs littering my scalp), but rather what I haven’t yet been able to achieve in my career at this stage in my life.
For anyone who knows what I’m talking about, it’s easy to understand how the realization can dampen one’s spirits.
Yes, I’ve accomplished a great deal in my career, I just thought I’d be further along by now.
Samuel Ullman was an American business man and poet – perhaps best known for his poem “Youth”. He writes, “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
But age is not what’s making me feel old at 40 – losing that enthusiasm to push harder and move further is. It’s difficult to continue to learn and advance regardless of what you’ve tried before, where you might be right now and what disappointments you’ve experienced. Without that drive, that enthusiasm, I guess anyone can feel old – even in a young body.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes, “A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.” And at 40 years old I might not be the youngest or the most advanced from a career standpoint, but I’m not at all lacking in experience and memories – two very important factors for professional development and personal growth.
There will always be times in our lives when we look back and wish we had done things differently when we were younger – when time was on our side, not against us. But as long as you’ve learned something from all the experiences and the memories your life has been bestowed with, you’re richer than most.
Timeless beauty Sophia Loren once remarked, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Looks like it’s time to start tapping.