“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
A recent episode of "CBS Sunday Morning" included a story profiling several elite athletes – Dottie Gray, Dixon Hemphill and Orville Rogers. They’re known for winning gold medals and setting records at almost every track meet they enter. However, these runners won’t be competing in the Rio Olympics, as they’re 90, 91 and 98 years old.
Reporter Lee Cowan explained, for these runners, “There is no finish line, just the next race.” They’ll each continue to run races as long as they can. Any thoughts of quitting are shut out by a determination to hang in there.
The story resonated with me on several levels. First, I’m a runner. While I’m not setting any records, I love lacing up my shoes for early morning runs, whether at home or on the road. And I still get excited toeing the start line, even though my only competition is the timing clock.
More importantly, I’m now in my mid-50s, almost 50% older than the median age in the United States. The next marathon I run won’t be my fastest. Those days are over. But I can follow Dottie’s, Dixon’s and Orville’s examples – continue to train, sign up for a race, and do my best.
Their most important examples are about much more than running. It’s about a positive outlook on life and how to approach goals. At a time when most people choose to stop, they’re moving forward. They enjoy the paths they’ve on. They even seem amazed and amused by their own successes.
These are attributes we should all embrace. No matter how old we are, the journey goes on. Not just in our careers or other pursuits, but in our lives. We don’t know where the end lies, but it’s in front of us, not behind.
What’s the current destination of your journey? Is it where you want to go? Or do you want to head someplace else? Is there a challenge you want to chase? Is there a new dream you want to bring to reality?
If you want to change direction, or try something new, then now is the time. You have to decide to take a chance, and take that first step. You can make excuses for not pursuing your passion, or decide to make the attempt. The choice is yours. And that’s true whether you’re 34, or 54, or 74.
As Dottie says, “No matter how old you are, you’re never too old to start.”
(You can see the story on the CBS Sunday Morning YouTube channel).