It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“I’m seventy years old, Lord,” I protested inside my head. “Who starts something really new at this stage of life?”
And back the answers came rattling like hailstones: As I thumbed through my Bible. As I spotted little articles in magazines. As I watched news features and videos online. As I remembered tidbits from biographies I’d read long before but had forgotten about:
Peter Mark Roget
Laura Ingalls Wilder—and numerous other writers…
Here’s a sampling of fascinating facts I learned:
- Moses first took on governmental leadership at age eighty, and led and governed a couple million (often unruly) people until the age of 120.
- Caleb was 85 when he finally got to lead troops in the long postponed battles for the Promised Land. “Give me this mountain,” he said to Joshua. “I’m just as strong as forty-five years ago...”
- George Muller began his world speaking tours at 70—and never missed a scheduled talk, even when heavy fog at sea threatened to prevent one. (He went below deck and briefly prayed for God to lift the fog, and He did, immediately.)
- At 76 Grandma Moses started painting primitives, which suddenly brought her world-wide fame when she was 86.
- Peter Mark Roget invented the thesaurus in his retirement years, published it when he was 73, and kept tweaking it till he died at age 90.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing her Little House books at age 65.
- At that same age Colonel Sanders established his Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain.
- Mary Delaney invented paper collage at age 72.
- Fauja Singh ran his first marathon when he was 89, became the oldest real marathon runner at 100, and even after that continued running seven or eight kilometers on a daily basis.
- And mercy me! Sarah finally gave birth to a baby at over 90.
- And so on… (There’s lots more.)
So my age is no excuse, is it?
Now, what new start might I make?
Need it be flamboyant, grandiose? I don’t think so. We’re just talking an antidote for closed doors, “endings” —the most recent involving avocations and personal “sidelines”. Even some of the above new starts that became great began with little “hobby” kinds of things…
So I ask myself some questions:
- What did I once want to do, but never did?
- What “foolish” pursuits do I idly dream about now?
- What did I once dabble in that I might pursue now in greater depth?
- What catches my fancy as I flip through newspapers and magazines, peruse library bookshelves, watch internet videos, and click links to this and that?
Exploring those questions gains me a mass of answers, and several potential new pursuits. I note them down. I muse about them. I dabble a bit. I do some fact-finding sessions.
By this process I find some novel directions and start experiencing new enjoyments, and my life starts growing more richly blessed.
Then I ask myself another question:
- What’s most important to spend my increasingly precious time on henceforth?
So now I’m also clarifying the idea of balance between the enlivening “fun” and the weightier, richer, most important pursuits and purposes for this time of life.
In an upcoming Grace-Aging Theme post, I plan to share some of my answers to the questions above. Meanwhile, no matter your age or place in life right now, you might like to consider the questions for yourself. It may be that though your over-full present leaves no room for certain pursuits you’d like to try, they may find a happy home in your future (older) years. And it’s good to plan ahead.