At the age of 53 I have some absolutes in my life:
I will never compete in the Olympics.
I will never be a professional athlete.
I will not qualify to join any branch of the military service.
I will not grow to be 7 feet tall.
These statements are not pessimistic. They are not accepting defeat. They are an acceptance of my status in life.
There are goals that may seem impossible but they aren’t:
I could become the President – I can meet the requirements but I don’t stand a chance.
I may be able to travel to Mars someday.
I may live to be 100.
I could become a doctor.
These statements are not pessimistic. They just aren’t likely given a number of factors.
What does any of this mean? We adjust our goals as we move through life. Some opportunities have doors that close. Some opportunities slip past us and don’t seem likely to return. Others are attainable but may become harder as life moves on.
Many of us have seen elderly students in college fighting to finish their degrees. We see older people train for marathons. Last week I met an 80 year old man that is training for a biking competition. These people may conquer their goals. It doesn’t mean that they will compete professionally but they can compete.
We narrow our goals as we age. We make adjustments and we tailor our focus. There are challenges out there that I may want to tackle. There are others that I have crossed off. I have no desire to be a doctor. I also have no desire to be a senator or President.
I would still like to be a hippy but I doubt that I’ll put much effort into it.
The good thing about narrowing the field is that it is easier to focus, plan and strategize to move forward. Although many opportunities are now out of the picture. The ones that are become clearer. It is not depressing to have fewer options – it is depressing not to work at the ones that still have life for us.