Age – something we all yearn for when we are little and despise when we are older. It’s this magical label that automatically tells others how long we’ve been on this earth…and leads to misinformation about what we are capable of accomplishing. How do you rise above your age? Take a look at these 7 ways to elevate yourself beyond your age and achieve great things at any time in your life.
1. THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL TIMELINE –
You don’t have to do everything in the same order as someone else. Isn’t that nice? You can have kids at 23 and start your business at 40 – or vice versa. If there was a universal time line, we would all have the same lives! It sure would be easier to plan that way, but that’s what makes life exciting and unpredictable. We each have our own route and you are the only one who knows what timeline works best for you. Through my experience, I’ve noticed that different areas of the country tend to have different age expectations of major life events (such as getting married and having children). I grew up in the south but currently live in New York City, so I have friends from both areas of the country. While many of my southern friends are getting married and having children, I notice that my northern friends are quite surprised because they often feel much too young to start a family. I find that both sides are very defensive of their own timelines and what they feel is right. I think it’s good to keep in mind that judging the timelines of others doesn’t help or change anything about the way that you live your life. You have to do what feels right for you. (Don’t forget our
April Monthly Mantra
– “Stop giving a shit about what other people may consider weird.”) If you want to wait until you are 80 to get married (or never! No one says you have to!) – then do it! Disregard the naysayers at all costs and do yo’ thang.
2. CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITY-
Don’t like waiting around? Are you afraid potential employers will think you are too old or too young to give you a chance at that dream job? Well, there is good news. Go and create your OWN opportunity! Don’t ever wait around for someone else to grant you a magic pass to do what you want to do. Because then you are depending on THEIR perception of your capabilities, which can often be based on age and millions of other biased factors. They might think you aren’t fit for that executive position because you are “just a kid” and don’t have enough experience. They might think you wouldn’t bring innovation to a job because you are older – they could assume you might be stuck in your ways. Don’t allow your dreams to be up to them! Go and make things happen for yourself.
A great example that I love to share is the career of my good friend John. He is a hilarious and talented actor that gained some major momentum in the musical theatre world after he graduated from college. He loved musical theatre, but he also desired to perform in other mediums; he didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into only one thing. I remember sitting at dinner with him and he told me about a brilliant idea he had for a webseries – it was the perfect type of character he had always wanted to play and it was the type of story that he loved to watch. So instead of waiting around until someone else made this show a reality, he decided to create it himself! He teamed up with a spectacular writing partner and they spent a year writing, filming, refining, editing – you name it; together they created a
top-notch show that they are pitching to agencies and networks. Not only this, but they both found out they have incredible talent as writers and producers– something that these actors might never have discovered if they would have spent all their time waiting in audition rooms for someone else to hand them a part. Now they are professional writer/producers in their early twenties with their own production company and they are setting the world on fire. Moral of the story – get out there and DO IT. Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone to decide FOR ME what I’m capable of doing; Not now – not at any age!
3. THINGS CAN CHANGE – AND QUICKER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK! –
When Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York was named one of Time Magazine’s “30 Under 30” last year, he said, “When I lost my job at 26, I automatically assumed I was disqualified from things like this.” Isn’t that great?! He was 26 years old, lost his job and essentially started over. And yet, he has accomplished great things and has made a tremendous impact in less than 4 short years. Who knows, he might never have started Humans of New York if he DIDN’T lose his job! You never know what will happen or how quickly or slowly your dreams might take off. Follow your goals because you love to pursue them and the timeline won’t matter because you’ll be enjoying every moment of the process. Like attracts like. If you are passionate and determined, you will attract those types of people and circumstances to you. And Lord knows that you will be a force to be reckoned with once you get all that good mojo flowing your way. Passion and enthusiasm is SEXY. People will be drawn to you and your endeavors, and others will want to help you on your journey. You should pursue your dreams regardless of how long you THINK they will take. Because your imagined timeline might be WAY off – either shorter or longer than you originally intended.
4. YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHANCE –
If something doesn’t work out for you or doesn’t stick – try something else. Regardless of age. Every experience teaches you something new, even if it teaches you only what you DON’T want. (Ummm…this is the ONLY good reason that bad dates exist, right!?) Never settle just because you think your clock is running out. So you went to college, majored in English and now you want to teach math? You might feel like you missed the boat or that you might be “behind” compared to other people your age who majored in Math Education and are already teaching math. There are no expiration dates on dreams! To settle for something less than stellar is the worse thing that you can do.
5. SPEND TIME WITH KIDS –
Spending time with children is the perfect reminder of what it is like to feel limitless. Little kids have so many dreams and absolutely NO QUALMS about shouting them from the rooftops and absolutely believing in their capabilities to achieve them. Do you remember what you used to want to do “when you grew up”? Are you living out those dreams you promised yourself you would pursue when you had the freedom of adulthood? Of course, your dreams can change (check out my story of changing dreams here , plus some helpful tips about what you can do to find your next passion), but if you still feel a glimmer of your childhood dream in your heart – go for it! I think we often forget that with age comes freedom. I remember when I was in 2nd grade and ALL I wanted to be was a young adult. I dreamed of living out on my own, shopping whenever I wanted, living in my own apartment, buying Oreos NOT on special occasions (yes, this was my 2nd grade definition of success). And a few years ago, the dream that I had sort of hit me over the head. I did it! I was living out what once used to be a childhood day dream (BTW – unlimited Oreos doesn’t always bring happiness… Mostly just a really bad stomach ache. Ha!) And the great thing about kids are that they THINK BIG. They don’t think in practical terms, but neither does our heart sometimes. Find your inner kid and start pursuing those dreams. You ARE an adult now, you have the resources and freedom to make it happen.
6. YOUR TIMELINE IS YOURS ALONE –
You don’t always have to listen to what others tell you about age. Lots of people (oftentimes those close to you) will want you to fit THEIR timeline. Mom will want you married by 30, babies by 35. But it just doesn’t make sense to stress yourself out about timeframes that others put on you. Because oftentimes – it is out of your control! Just because mama would looooove to see some babies soon doesn’t mean that you should run out and capture the first man that might be a decent father. (Tag – you’re it! Have my baby!…That’s not how it works…)Those family reunions might feel a bit awkward, but let the comments slide right off you. You are doing your own thing and that takes guts, determination, and a high level of self-respect. Everyone else can deal .
7. YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD TO GET IT RIGHT –
Yet another piece of sage advice from my favorite musician, Glen Hansard. This line from “People Get Ready” by The Frames always gets me, “ We have all the time in the world to get it right, get it right – and we have all the love in the world to set alight, set alight .” This song single handedly calmed my nerves when I was crushing REAL hard on a man named Stephen (my soulmate and boyfriend of almost 4 years in May!) I continually reminded myself that I have all the time in the world to be with him. He might not realize how head-over-heels I am with him right now, but it doesn’t matter. As long as we end up together eventually, I have my whole life to wait. Granted, this thinking was extreme (let’s just say that I’m a MAJOR romantic and a woman who knows what she wants). And I’m glad (for my own sake at least!) that we ended up together, because I had my sights SET. But the sentiment rings true – you have YOUR WHOLE LIFE to achieve your dreams. Because what are you going to do once you’ve achieved all your goals? You are just going to come up with new ones! You might relax for a second and think, “Wow, I did it. I achieved everything that I wanted to achieve…” but then a few minutes later you will think, “You know what would look really nice with this mansion? A big ole’ swimming pool!” and you will be on the road to creating a better life for yourself once again! There is no rush, no prize for finishing all your life goals first. Enjoy the process and know that even if you it takes you ten, twenty or thirty years – as long as you are alive, you have the time. The time will go on anyways.
Please remember this – age is just a number. It’s a silly little marker that has WAY too many assumptions attached to it. I challenge you to do something “against age” today… wear that skirt that you love (but you think looks 5 years too young )…go out and enjoy an icecream cone just because, like you did when you were a kid. Dress up in your finest business attire and pitch your idea to investors. And don’t let it bother you for ONE SECOND that they are all 20 years older than you. DO YOUR THING. If you can let go of age – your life will feel eternal.
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