‘Life begins at forty.’ ‘Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.’ ‘Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ There are innumerable cliches about age, some sensical, many not. What a lot of them seem to claim, is that having a youthful mindset is favourable. I am not in agreement with this, because I do not think that youth is associated with freedom and following through on whimsical ideas; that is part of an individual. Youth is often dictated by rules and uncertainty for the future.
I recently read an article about a Polish man who kayaked 6,000 miles across the Atlantic at the age of 67. I thought, ‘Wow.’ I also thought that kayaking across an ocean is something that a child would struggle to do for multiple reasons, namely that their parents wouldn’t allow it and their physical and mental resolve may be lacking such an undertaking. So did this Polish man have the mindset of a youth?
People often get set in their lives. They get their comforts and they find a routine and they forget about their dreams. I don’t think that dreams and routine are mutually exclusive, but many people use their ordinary lives as an excuse not to do whatever it is that they desire. Maybe this is a question of priorities. If, for example, someone was to ask me to eat a hamburger, I would say no. If they were to hold a gun to the head of someone I cared about and demand that I eat a hamburger or they would pull the trigger, I would eat the hamburger. This does not question my beliefs in vegetarianism, instead it questions my priorities.
As I get older, I find that I learn more and become more confident in my own abilities. This makes so much more possible in my life. And I think that this is because of my outlook on life, not because I have a youthful mindset.
As with many things in life, adventures become easier to find. And you define what an adventure is. So kayak on ocean by yourself, or chooses to take an online French course – you can do as you please. If you want to explore but you are afraid, there are always possibilities – for older people who want to travel, but are lacking in confidence, there are companies who will take you on trips. Then again, you could just get on a bicycle and head off into the wilderness. All you need is a hammock and a sleeping bag. Clean pants (underwear) are nice for the evening too.
So whatever age you are, your life neither stops nor begins at any set time. Instead, you do as you please.