Posted by: universitymindlab | August 23, 2008

Exploding the Age Myth

Exploding the Age Myth

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

One of the most inspirational stories of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing is that of Dara Torres. The forty one year old swimmer, who won three silver medals this year, has won 12 medals over the course of her Olympic career. Not only is she the oldest female swimmer to ever compete in the Olympics, she first competed 24 years ago.

What is most amazing about her story is not her accomplishment, but her attitude. When being interviewed after her 4×4 relay team’s silver medal win she was asked what she wants her two year old daughter to pull from her achievements. Without missing a beat she told the reporter that the most important thing she wanted her to know is that, “You don’t have to put an age limit on your dreams.”

That deserves to be repeated:

“You don’t have to put an age limit on your dreams.”

That is an absolutely fabulous statement. As time passes in our lives we start to question our abilities to do what we have always been able to do or may question our ability to tackle a new task or goal. I think her response to that question is the approach we need to take when we ask ourselves this question. In a field where she often was more than double the age of her competitors she was at times the fastest or the favorite for her events.

When it comes to age we often tend to believe what others tell us about our bodies and what we should be doing with our lives. This may even be in the face of ample evidence to the contrary. It is even possible that we may let ourselves atrophy physically, mentally or otherwise because that is the trend in our society or others state that we should acquiesce to traditional ideas of when someone should take themselves ‘out of the game.’

Forget that!

Break the mold. Determine your own destiny. Chase and catch the dreams that grab your heart and don’t let go. Remember the journey is the pleasing part of life. The destination is just the ‘icing on the cake….’

(Sorry for the pun.)

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