I’m listening to the song “If I Die Young” by Perry. It has struck some kind of chord in me. Now let me put your mind at ease lest you think this is going to segue into something morbid. My intent is actually just the opposite. When I originally heard this song, I found it overly morose and depressing and it angered me that it romanticized the idea of dying early. Lately, though, I’ve been hearing it differently. It’s almost a directive to live the time you have and live it so fully that when your time comes you will be able to rest knowing you’ve had enough time. Time is a concept I struggle with. I get so overwhelmed with the idea of how little of it any of us really has that I forget to be grateful and enjoy the moment I am in. Time, especially the idea of time I’ve wasted, terrifies me like nothing else. And that fear can be paralyzing, leading to more time wasted. And thus the symptoms perpetuate the problem. Recognizing this particular fear was not difficult for me. The difficulty is in conquering it. But I thought I’d give it a try. Today’s attempt starts by making a list of things I’ve decided I’m too old for, things that I’ve wasted too much time to pursue, in short- things I have decided there’s just not enough time for. Hopefully the attempt ends with being able to refute some of these beliefs…
Things I (falsely) Believe I Am Too Old For
1. I’m too old to be so indecisive about what I want to do.
*Let’s be real with this one- the problem isn’t necessarily indecisiveness per se. Knowing what I want to do has never been the problem. The indecisiveness is more about making up my mind to stop being such a coward. The problem lies in not being willing to fail sensationally. But is it better to fail sensationally at something you love or succeed spectacularly at something you’re apathetic about? Between that question and the little voice in my head that says I won’t make it anyway, I tend to get kind of stuck. So as a reminder to get out of my own way, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sv02Izi5UA
2. I’m too old to pursue a performing career.
*Kristen Wiig was 32 when she was discovered and she’s kind of a big deal now. Tim Allen spent a couple years in prison before getting his shit together and he was 35 when he finally started getting work. And the lady I kind of share a name with, Melissa McCarthy- she didn’t start getting any kind of roles until she was around 30. Heck, Phyllis Diller’s first TV credit wasn’t until age 44. Oh, and Lynn Cohen, who is basically my personal hero didn’t start acting until she was 50 and she was in the freaking Hunger Games! Apparently there’s some truth to the idea that it’s never too late to be what you might have been. For further inspiration –> http://www.marieforleo.com/2011/09/are-you-too-old/
3. I’m too old (and out of shape) to start taking dance classes again.
*Ok, this one I can refute myself to some extent. First of all, I don’t have to train to be a professional dancer to take classes and do what I enjoy. Second, yes, I am out of shape, but what better way to remedy that than to spend time doing something I love. Third, while I may feel out of place taking classes, chances are pretty good that I am paying way more attention to my awkwardness than anyone else in the room. That doesn’t make it easier, but at least it’s something to try and remember. And fourth, I am never happier than when I am dancing. Some of the greatest moments in my life were spent in a sweaty dance studio. There’s a freedom in dance that I haven’t been able to recapture in anything else. And lest my own words are not enough to convince me, here is a lovely article about saying yes to dance at any age. http://voices.yahoo.com/getting-into-ballet-older-age-its-possible-and-311097.html
4. I’m too old to flit around like a gypsy rather than settling down.
*This one actually rings of truth. But another way of looking at it is, the more places we try, the more we know what we will and won’t accept in our forever home. I don’t want to settle in one place just because society says it’s time and because it’s easy. I wouldn’t mind resting my bones and growing some roots somewhere, but I want to LOVE that place. I want to wake up happy to be exactly where I am. And that might just take a little more trial and error.
5. I’m too old to go back to school… again.
*Some statistics show the average age of a grad student is mid to late thirties. It’s never too late to expand your knowledge base and develop your talents. There’s no expiration date on your ability to learn and, indeed, the desire to continue doing so could even be considered commendable. More practically, an advanced degree increases your marketability. US News agrees with me. 🙂 http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/04/13/4-graduate-school-myths-debunked
And in the same vein, a list of things I will regret if I don’t find a way to do them.
1. Getting healthy and happy
2. Traveling to Europe
3. Riding that scary HP ride at Universal
4. Dancing for me
Moral of the story: life doesn’t end just because you’re a grown up. I think it’s time for me to start redefining what an adult is for me personally. It’s easy to get caught up in outside ideas and expectations, but that hasn’t done me a lot of good thus far. In fact it landed me in Newark as a law school dropout. It’s also easy to get bogged down in insecurities and personal issues. And those are harder to resolve. But I’ve been feeling a little more optimistic lately and I think it’s about time to start trusting my dreams and letting my doubts be motivators rather than deterrents.