I used to be a lot of things. A hardware store clerk, florist, radio DJ, Gap manager, preschool music teacher, personal trainer, Spin instructor and pyramid scheme sucker. I also used to be so scared of being a "has been". You know that person who used to be really good at something but it's obvious that at some point, they lost the plot and gave up.
At my Crossfit gym, I do pull-ups, push-ups, dead lifts and more craziness alongside some people who are easily a decade or more younger than me. I could use this as an excuse, give up and say "oh those guys are in their prime". But honestly, I say this with a little smirk on my face, and a sheepish sideways glance...it kinda brings out the beast in me! I regularly look at the daunting WODs (that's Crossfit language for Workout Of the Day) and say, "this may be the day I won't finish" only to realize to my amazement that I indeed did finish! As I gasp to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my brow with my chalk covered hands I'm stoked that not only did I finish, I killed it!
Do I kill it every time? Absolutely not. That would be a blog for another day, or if you'd like to have a good laugh about my failures, go read my past blog "Beginners to the Shallow End". That'll fulfill your desire for pointing and laughing at my expense. I don't judge you.
I'm not writing this to plug my gym or brag about my strength. I'm writing to say DON'T QUIT! The career you chose went bust? No one bought the book you wrote? Your degree is useless? I'm so genuinely sorry. That's tough for sure, and I won't minimize that. But, I dare you to count your losses, pick up the pieces and if necessary reinvent yourself! You won't be the first.
Check this out:
Vera Wang didn't start her career as a designer until she was 40 years old
Beloved writer C.S. Lewis completed the Chronicles of Narnia when he was 58 years old
Kerri Walsh was 36, her teammate Misty May Treanor was 35 when they won gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games
Walt Disney's dream became a reality when he was 53 and Disneyland was open to the public!*
Oh yeah, don't forget about 90-something Sarah, from the Bible, popping out baby Isaac after she laughed at the thought of having a baby in her (very) old age.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to have a baby while I'm buying Depends in bulk, putting in my false teeth and turning up my hearing aids to frequencies only dogs can hear. But, I sure don't want to give up, decide that life didn't go the way I wanted and throw in the towel. I don't want to be a has been. I want to stay sold out for the plans I know God has ahead for me, even if it means picking up and starting all over again.
All those people I talked about above come from different walks of life, different families, different pasts. But they all have one thing in common. They all had to be brave. They all had to do something new and different, and I'm willing to bet that they all were terrified at least once.
There is the opinion that when you are young, say 20 - 35 years old, you're in your prime. You know what, I think you're in your prime when you decide you're in your prime. And I choose to be in my prime today. And tomorrow. And the day after that. And the next day too. I know I will have to keep choosing to be in my prime when I am really not feeling it. But for now, I choose to not be a has been. You with me?
*the photos on the page are not my own.