When is Your Future Behind You?
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. ~Thomas Alva Edison
Let me tell you about two women I’ve known who illustrate the power of never giving up your passion for life.
Jane was a fellow sales manager in the tourism industry.
At the time I knew Jane (not her real name) she was in her late 40’s and a senior sales manager for her hotel, responsible for the Asian markets. She had a husband who doted on her, 2 great kids in college and … by any standard, a pretty glamorous career; so I couldn’t help but wonder why was always so serious and kind of sad. One day I got up the nerve to ask her.
We were in Japan for a travel industry conference, and had gone to a park to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. As we walked I rambled a bit about some of the things I wanted to do in life, and finally got up the nerve to ask her what she had planned for the future. She didn’t answer right away, looking down at the ground as we walked, she finally said she never thought about the future – she’d stopped dreaming long ago.
Alta was what they would have called in ‘her day’ a real pistol! As a teen she and her family had driven across America in a covered wagon. She became a teacher, married and raised a family. At 100+ she was a voracious reader, kept up on all the latest news, loved to debate politics, laughed often – always eager to hear a new joke, and she was an avid roller derby fan! Alta passed away in her own bed at the impressive age of 105 having never given up even for a day her passion for life.
These two women lived very different lives, but in their own way perfectly illustrate one of the most valuable lessons we can ever learn …
The joy and fulfillment you get out of life is in direct proportion to the passion you put into it.
- Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~Samuel Ullman
- Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. ~Author Unknown
- A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore
- Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts. ~Martin Buxbaum
- It is possible at any age to discover a lifelong desire you never knew you had. ~Robert Brault
- The other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life. “Why,” I answered without a thought, “now.” ~David Grayson
- Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. ~Henry Ford
- Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do at least one outrageous thing every week. ~Louis Kronenberger
- Preparation for old age should begin no later than one’s teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement. ~Dwight L. Moody
- Aging only happens to people who lose their lust for getting better and disconnect from their natural base of curiosity. ~Robin Sharma
- The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it. ~William James
- Sometimes, people use age as a convenient excuse. ‘I’m too old to start something new’ or, ‘I couldn’t learn that at my age.’ Other people, though, go on to achieve their greatest accomplishments in life in later years. ~Catherine Pulsifer
- We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. ~Benjamin Franklin
This post was inspired by an article I read about a woman who’d quit medical school to deal with one of those little detours life has a way of throwing at us. She later married and raised a family, but never gave up her passion for medicine. With her family’s love and support she went back to school and finally fulfilled her dream by becoming a doctor at the ripe old age of 53.
I know there will be some who read this and rather than feel hopeful and inspired, will choose to focus on how unfair life can be. If you find yourself leaning in that direction about now, I encourage you to read the Inspiring True Story of W. Mitchell to learn how no matter what life throws at us, we always have the power to choose how we respond.
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