A Terrible Lie We Tell Ourselves
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Question: Do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to play the guitar?
Answer: The same age I would be if I didn’t.
The statement “I’m too old to…(you fill in the blank), is nothing more than fear of being a beginner, and investing in something in which you might not succeed.
In my forties, I told myself I was too old to start a business, too old to adopt a child, and too old to write a book. This was a terrible lie that might have stolen some of my life’s greatest moments. As I took the leap in each of those areas, I noticed individuals who did all of the above successfully who were older than I was. A beautiful insight moment of truth for me. We are never too old, too young, too rich, too poor, too out of shape, too lonely, or too hopeless. We are only a beginner that needs to take the first few steps.
Allow yourself a journey of learning and beginning. It isn’t always fun to be an expert or be the best. The joy of discovery, learning, and accomplishment is found in the journey. Naysayers will tell you it takes too long to learn the piano, pickleball, or photography, but they are blind to the trajectory of small moments of motion that propel you forward every day. Ripples that, over time, become powerful waves. The daily acceleration towards a goal creates meaning and fulfillment. You are doing and becoming even if only beginning.
A story is told of a young girl who wanted to share her talent of the violin. She lifted out the violin bow, tightened it, and put rosin on it. Then she put the bow back in the case, curtsied, and sat down. A new beginner, she had just shared all she knew about the violin. Now, years later, she plays the violin beautifully.
That’s all?” many would ask, only focusing on the final form of a talent or skill. Learning, doing, and becoming don’t reach fruition in the done or the final form, but in the doing. The joy is found in the journey. Your personal hero’s journey has to mean something to you, not to your family, your friends, it must be for you. I cried after I finished the first chapter of my book because the realization washed over me that I could do this. I could be on the writer’s path. A moment of meaning that was more significant than when I finished the last chapter.
“I am learning to do improv comedy” is infinitely more interesting to your soul and others, than “I took an improv comedy class.” This is because learning is never over; it is never finished. There is always more to learn, more to improve on, and more opportunities that are hiding under the bushes.
Don’t be preoccupied with the end result, the fruits of your work. You have nothing to prove; you don’t have to show anyone your work. The work was for you. Let go of society’s expectations of the when, where and how of your life.
All you have to do is start. Everything begins at the beginning, take the first step on the path.
I’m cheering you on!
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