On July 9, 1948, he became the oldest rookie ever to debut in major league baseball. Leroy “Satchel” Paige was 42 years old. Well, at least somewhere around that age. Throughout his minor league career, the year of his birth would vary between 1900 and 1908.
When asked how old he was, Paige always said he just wasn’t sure because he didn’t know the actual year he was born. He would then ask, “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were?”
What about you? How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were? Are you letting age or other perceived limitations stop you from pursuing something you’d like to do?
I produce a cable television show designed to encourage people over 50, regardless of their stage or age in life, to let their dreams be bigger than their fears.
The show features individuals 50 and over who are pursuing dreams and writing new chapters in life, proving that the second half of life can rival and even be better than the first.
Here are three things that can help you move forward in accomplishing something you’d like to do:
Anna Mary Moses spent her life in upstate New York as a farmer’s wife. She had 10 children, of which 5 lived to adulthood. One of her favorite pastimes was needlepoint, and she created many beautiful pieces of work.
When she was in her 70s, her arthritis worsened to where she couldn’t hold a needle anymore. She could hold a paintbrush, however, so she began painting scenes of rural life from memory.
At 76 years old she did her first show, subsequently becoming the famed folk artist, Grandma Moses. During the next 25 years of her life, she created over 1600 paintings. She didn’t focus on what she couldn’t do… she found out what she could do.
Photographic artist Otis Sanders nurtured a dream of creating a coffee table photography book. In the 1990s he had a plan to go to Ghana, West Africa, tour the country by bicycle, and create black and white images of various people to feature in his book.
On his first trip to Ghana, he spent several months making contacts, creating some photography, and outlining what he was going to do on his return trip.
He went back a year or so later, and the second trip did not go well. The political climate was unsteady, and he had to leave after a few short weeks. In his words, his dream “crashed and burned.” He never regained the opportunity to return to Ghana to create the rest of the images he needed for his book.
Shortly after that, he married, but unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last very long. He yearned to know why his marriage failed.
Out of curiosity, and to do something as a Valentine’s special he could share on his blog, he interviewed five couples with long-term marriages, probing for their secrets to longevity in marriage. He interviewed a few more couples – and then a few more.
He decided to do a book featuring people with marriages of 20+ years. He interviewed 50 couples with marriages ranging from 20-70 years, photographed them, and wrote their stories on what made their marriages successful.
He published a beautiful coffee table book with their photos and stories. He didn’t let his dream die. It took a while, but he did publish his book on a different topic.
Several years ago, at the age of 58, I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do – run a marathon. Since I’d never done any running before, I decided to start with a half marathon. A couple of friends, who had been running for years, advised me to find a running group to train with.
I found a group in my area that scheduled weekly training runs and joined. It was a friendly group and most of the women were the ages of my children. I was the oldest, and slowest, person in the group. As I diligently trained, I gained strength and stamina. Yet, I continued to be the oldest. And the slowest.
The group would take off on a run, and I would be left way behind. I was always the last person to show up at the finish line. Sometimes I did feel ‘less than’ because I couldn’t keep up. I had to face the facts and settle it.
Yes. They were faster and younger. Yes. I’d probably be better if I had started this years before, but I didn’t. Yes. I may be in the last group of people finishing when I do an actual race.
Though I had challenges to overcome, I determined that I would finish. And within an eight-month period of time, I completed three half-marathons.
It’s important to not compare yourself to others and where they are in their life journey. We’re all at different stages, have different life experiences, and different capabilities.
Additionally, take time to imagine yourself doing what it is you want to do. If you can see it, most likely you can achieve it.
What fears have you allowed to stop you from doing something you’d like to do? How do you propose moving forward? Have you found ways to reinvent your dreams and adapt them to who you are today? Please share your thoughts with our community!