A few days ago a 73-year-old man told me he was a little envious of my age. He wanted to write books. He wanted to speak at conferences. And knowing I was 35 years old and doing both those things already was a little frustrating to him.
I had to laugh.
Because that same week I had been secretly bemoaning the talents of a friend of mine who is 22. He’s unbelievably talented. He’s so determined and skilled and he’s only 22. When I was that age, I was an idiot. I was such an unfocused punk. If only I was 22 again!
The lie that my elderly friend and I were both believing is that “we’re not the right age to chase our dreams.” If we were younger we’d have a better shot at success. The runway would be longer, the arc of our dreams would be dramatically different.
This is a pretty common lie, it’s easy to get envious of other people, but it’s a lie nonetheless. The tricky thing about this particular fabrication is that it’s not age specific. Whatever age you are, is presented as the wrong age.
If you’re 73, you regret that you aren’t 35. If you’re 35, you regret that you aren’t 22. If you’re 22, you regret that … and so on.
What do you do when you find yourself buying into the age lie? You tell yourself the truth. You remind yourself that today you are the perfect age to chase your dream. It’s the only age you have, which actually makes it the best age for you. And the truth is, you’re 10 years ahead of the you that in ten years will wish he was your age again. That guy is frustrated he’s not the age you are today. That guy would spur you on. That guy would tell you to be the age you are and chase the dream you have.
And that guy is older, by at least ten years, so it’s safe to assume he knows what he is talking about.