When the New York Times ran a story titled I’m too old for this, I had to look. It was written by Dominique Browning, a prominent green blogger, who noted that “there is also something profoundly liberating about aging: an attitude, one that comes hard won. Only when you hit 60 can you begin to say, with great aplomb: 'I’m too old for this.' ”
It's an article written very much from a women’s point of view, but the key point in the title is relevant to anyone over 60.
I'm in my early 60s and often deal with this question. I thought it last winter when I dug my snowboard out of storage after about a decade and hit the slopes with my daughter. I don’t have any silly step-in bindings; I had to get down on my butt and get myself up and drag that board to the lift and let it hang off my leg. And I thought (and still think), “I’m too old for this.” My knee still hurts. I look at the ads to sign up early for a season pass for next winter and am thinking about going back to skis.
Then there was the press gig where I was invited to look at a new elevator in Boston. So I cycled down to the Island Airport, flew to Boston, taxied to the building, did the press thing and walked back to the ferry that would take me back to the airport — nine modes of transportation in one day. I had to bike home from the airport in the pouring rain late at night, only to have another cyclist run through a stop sign and hit me, knocking me off my bike. I was lying in the middle of the road, soaked, and I thought: “I'm too old for this.”
As managing editor of TreeHugger, a job I wanted forever, I would look at the stats of who was reading us, who we were writing for, and realized they were less than half my age. They were younger than my kids. And when one writer stuck a graphic on a photo with SOLAR FTW — and I wondered what the hell FTW stood for — I realized, “I’m too old for this” and gave up the red pencil to Melissa, who is much closer to our demographic.
But in the end, I don’t really believe I'm too old for anything. I agree with Dominique:
The key to life is resilience, and I’m old enough to make such a bald statement. We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts. By the time you reach upper middle age, you have started over, and over again. And, I might add, resilience is the key to feeling 15 again. Which is actually how I feel most of the time.
I've been knocked down many times since I graduated as an architect so many years ago. I've left a trail of failures behind, but they have been rather dramatic — buildings I designed as an architect, condos I built as a developer, furniture that never got into production, prefabs that never got sold and tiny houses that cost too much. Then I got up again and started writing, where one's failures are less dramatic.
And every morning in the summer, I get out in my scull and I try and knock a few seconds off the time it takes to go around the lake. A rower knows that brute strength is important, but so is experience and finesse. I cannot see where I'm going, but I've been doing the same course for years so I don’t need to.
I sometimes think “I’m too old to for this;” it's particularly hard to get in and out of a racing shell. Then the oar bites into the water at just the right angle and the boat glides just a little bit faster and I think, as I do about my writing every day, that with practice, I might actually get good at this.
You're never too old for that.