Advice for Young and Old

Young and OldIn this new year, I have two liberating scraps of wisdom:  one for the young, and another for the not-so-young.

To the young:

It’s not hard.

Most things are not nearly as hard as we think.  Calculus?  Not hard.  Play piano?  Not hard.  Ask a girl out?  Not hard.  Jump in, make a start, it usually turns out to be easy, maybe even fun!

Although I’m no longer young, this is a lesson that I need to continually remind myself of.  Clearing the dishes from the sink is not hard, but I build it up in my mind to be harder than it is.  Once I start, it’s done before I know it.  I wonder what other things my fear is preventing me from accomplishing?

What breaks my heart is folks who are paralyzed because they think everything is hard.  But for the grace of God, that was almost me, at a critical moment in my life when I began to lose faith.  But that’s another story.

And to the not-so-young:

Why not now?

My father passed on to me that when he was middle-aged, his friends would say, “When I retire, I want to visit Australia,” or “When I have more time, I want to write stories,” and his reply was always, “Why not now?”  I think the point was, look for a reason why a dream can’t happen now, rather than assuming it can’t.  Otherwise, you may get to a point where age or health really do make those dreams impossible.

When I was 30, at what should have been a critical point in my professional career, I took almost 3 months leave off work, and went on a long bike trip.  It was a defining moment of my life.  It would be a different experience today, as I’m slower and weaker, and the world is a different place.

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