I often hear people say, “Well, I can’t do that; I’m too old,” or “I’m too old to try.” I’ve always believed age is just a number and the only reasons we don’t try new things are fear of change and/or the unknown. Age has nothing to do with it.
And I have an example that proves my theory.
I didn’t ask permission to share any details of his life story, so I’m going to make this a story about a man named Bill. Bill is 91 years old, a bit frailer than he was in younger years, but still alive and kicking.
Bill served in the Merchant Marine during the 2nd World War; his service was on merchant ships traversing the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. But it doesn’t stop there. He also had perhaps the most dangerous duty during that war, serving on ocean-going convoys to Murmansk, Russia. Of the 1400 merchant ships that delivered supplies to that port city, 85 vessels were lost. During one of his trips, Germans were shooting at his ship. Luckily they missed.
None of these wartime experiences scared Bill from continuing in the maritime field. After the war, he sailed as a captain of various ships and then left his captain career to open his own business, also in the maritime industry. He grew his business successfully for thirty years, after which time he decided to retire. But retirement didn’t suit him, so in his late 80s he found himself teaching maritime topics to merchant marine students at a city college.
For most people, that would be enough of trying new things. But one thing Bill never did was to get a college degree. So at age 91, Bill has enrolled in college to earn a bachelor’s degree.
So the next time you hear someone say they are too old to try something new, or perhaps you sometimes think you are too old for change, remember our friend, Bill. At 91 he’s trying something new yet again; starting on a journey he’s never attempted before. Go Bill, Go.
You’re never too old to set a new course.