“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
I may be getting older, but I’m not old. And I don’t plan to be disappointed. In fact, I recently told my pastor that I had seen other people’s breakthroughs and now, “It’s my turn!”
Life sometimes seems to put you in a holding pattern or you may feel like you’re just in a long layover. But “life is lived in seasons, and each season presents unique challenges, unique opportunities,” says Mark Batterson.
In my 50s, I started over, I finished college, I moved across the country, I started a new job, I climbed a mountain, I bought a truck (I’m a car guy), I discovered several “firsts”, I found second chances, and I saw my dad for the last time.
One thing I know: Each of us has a story and despite the detours, side roads, dead ends, potholes, layovers and holding patterns, we are part of a story that is bigger than us. My story may not yet be a testament that life is great after 60, but it shall be. And I shall be in quite a good company.
- George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an airplane at 90.
- My pastor recently told us of a 90-year-old man who climbed The Incline, a feat for anyone at any age.
- My dad started a locksmith business in his 60s and owned another business into his 70s.
- My mom still handles trust accounts (she was a banker) in her mid-80s.
- Col. Sanders founded Kentucky Fried Chicken at 65.
- Ray Kroc didn’t start his McDonald’s business until his 50s.
- You could say Abraham and Sarah were, umm, late bloomers. (If you don’t know, check your Bible).
- For some of you foodies — and ex-college students — Momofuku Ando invented ramen noodles at age 61.
I may be 60, but don’t count me out just yet. I still feel like 35 and there are days I still dream of what I want to be when I grow up, though I assume a major league baseball player and an astronaut are likely not part of the equation now.
There’s a quote on my desk that says:
“Life is not measured by the breaths that we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
I intend to have more of the latter over the next third of my life. I have not had my share of those. Notice, though, I did not say “the last chapter” as I am not privileged to know which chapter I’m currently writing. I’m simply writing today’s Masterpiece. Still, looking ahead, here are a few things I know that I must do.
- Write another book. Or two. Or three. The title and concept for the next one have been there for over two decades. The passion has only recently returned.
- Understand people. It’s amazing that we all hail from the same Creator, yet form so many varying opinions, positions and personalities. Fascinating, to say the least. I enjoy hearing perspectives, most of which are tied to upbringing, experiences and, often, to circumstance or surroundings. How, for example, can twin brothers be so different? One is a talented singer/songwriter, the other a real estate agent. How are two sisters polar opposites on the political spectrum? And how can generations of families be part of law enforcement or military or bankers or salesmen? There are stories there to hear.
- See a Broadway musical in New York or on the West End in London. Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera would be just fine.
- Play the piano like Josh, Jason and Destin Bailey. They often say kids grow up like one of their parents. In this case, I’d like to grow up to play the piano like them. It’s a long-held desire. They are self-taught for the most part and all three play on Sundays at church. I need some lessons guys! #mythreesons
- To make my wife the happiest lady in the world. It’s a journey, to be sure, and I often fail along the way. Indeed, time is of the essence and we have some catching up to do, but she is a queen, and I’m quite determined to win this one!
There are other items that will join that list, but they shall have to wait for now. With specifics above, I am driven by two things that are now closer to my grasp than ever before. These two general ambitions if you will, are behind every distinct goal and mission above.
- Make a difference.
- Have the time of my life doing it (TOML).
What you should take away is that, whatever your age, it’s never too late. They say that a rut is only a grave with both ends kicked out, so get out of the rut, change some priorities in your life, and paint your Masterpiece.
“We Cannot Go Back and Start Over, But We Can Begin Now, and Make a New Ending”