Over 50? It’s never too late

The subject of age and aging abounds with myths and assumptions which are—to put it delicately—questionable.

Myths such as “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Or the assumption that—when people reach the age of 50 or 60— they start thinking about retiring from work and taking up a life of Perpetual Puttering.

Myth busters

These myths persist even though hardly a day goes by that you don’t see an article about a person over 50 or 60 or 70 who continues to do outstanding work.

Some such people that I’ve written about are Patti LaBelle, Daniel J. EvansDr. Kenneth Cooper, Mavis Staples, and the indomitable Betty White.

There were several articles about such people in yesterday’s Washington Post. One was about cartoonist Stan Lee (88) on the release of his new super-hero film “Thor,” another about singer Rambling’ Jack Elliott (79) on a local appearance.

Some of those who do outstanding work decade after decade end up working until a month or so before they die. Two recent examples:

  • Pulitzer prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post David Broder who wrote his last column in February, 2011, and died in March at 81, and
  •  Blues and boogie-woogie piano player Pinetop Perkins who won his third Grammy award in February, 2011, and died in March at 97.

It’s never to late

So when some people reach 50 0r 60 or beyond, they keep doing what they’ve been doing so well for so long. Others take up new challenges—doing things they’ve always dreamed of doing or taking up entirely new pursuits. It’s Never Too Late.

Currently, the online publication “ImpowerAge,” created by Dr. Carolyn Anderson, is holding a writing contest on this theme. The publications’s mission statement says, in part:

Empowering yourself to living a life of passion and contribution is at the heart of our mission at Impowerage. Impowerage is committed to redefining aging. Age is nothing but a number and it is never too late to be fit, give back or start living the life of your dreams.

Six finalists have been selected in the It’s Never Too Late contest with the winner to be picked by votes received between Wednesday, May 11 and Wednesday, May 25. The finalists’ entries and method of voting are shown at http://impowerage.com/news/its-never-too-late-to-writing-contest-finalists

I am one of the finalists, and I’d welcome your vote.

In fairness, I have to say that the entries of all the finalists are inspirational. It’s more evidence yet that a person over 50 or 60 or beyond can do just about anything, if she sets her mind to it.

photo by mrullmi

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Madeleine Kolb 07/26/2013, 10:21 am

    Arturo, I agree that belief in rapid decay and decline after 50 is largely myth. The worst part is that the belief can turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy. The more you believe you can’t do something, the less likely you are to try. So you become more sedentary and less able to be physically active. And the downward spiral continues.

    Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you believe you can be active and you take up certain exercise, you become more and more fit and able to be physically active. It sounds as if Tabata has done that for you.

  • Arturo 07/26/2013, 9:46 am

    I once thought that pursuing my dreams after 50 was hard because I got tired by the end of the day. But then I started doing Tabata and found that not only could I go through the day, but my back, core and joints got stronger. I think the belief that we go downhill after 50 is a myth that we accept because everybody else believes it. I no longer subscribe to that thinking. Thank you for showing me and others that I am on the right path.

  • Madeleine Kolb 05/19/2011, 11:29 am

    Thanks so much, Cathy, for your comment. And your vote. It is Never Too Late to take up something new, and it can be one way to help someone cope with a major life challenge, such as being diagnosed with a serious health condition.

    And, of course, as we grow older, it’s gets harder to say, “Some day, I’m going to start deep-sea fishing or bull-fighting (or whatever).”

  • Cathy 05/19/2011, 10:38 am

    Hi Madeleine,

    Enjoyed your entry and voted for you! What a wonderful site to help all of us age better. It is never too late to try something new. Good luck.