When we were young kids, most of us couldn’t wait to grow older. We looked forward to each birthday as they brought milestones of freedom: The freedom to vote, to drive, to drink alcohol. But, then adulthood brings the stages of life most people do not look forward to reaching. As we age, we reach a point where we no longer enjoy it.
But, what does age really mean? Do you feel your age? Most people I know over 60 years old do not feel any different than when they were 35. What has changed is their body, not their spirit. Some have said, you are only as old as you feel!
The mind-set we have helps us look at life either as a chance to grow richer or to simply survive. As a result, age can either give us a marker for growth or a mark of time to feel old. I recently read the book, “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. She digs into the psychology of success. The book shared research and anecdotes to explain that we all find ourselves into two sets of mind-sets: growth or fixed. With the growth mind-set, we believe we can grow and learn no matter our age or circumstances. The fixed mind-set means we believe we get what we get when we are born and either have talent or do not – there’s no changing our lot in life.
As I was reading the book, I thought about artists. When it comes to mastery of skills and talent, age is a blessing. I’ve been reading a lot about famous artists who didn’t become famous until they were very old by current standards. One of those is Japanese artist, Hokusai who said, “At 75 I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects,” he wrote. “When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before.”
Sadly, he didn’t live to be 110. His observations about his artistry are enlightening. It’s only through practice and time that we can deepen our knowledge and talents. We are always growing if we simply focus our mind-set on the opportunities to grow and keep trying. Age is just a mark on the calendar! Enjoy each stage of your growth.
– Holli Margell