ACA Blog

Carol Whiteley
Aug 31, 2010

I Can't Do That, I'm Too Old

Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives.* It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. *This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it's conformity. *As quoted in Think and Grow Rich by Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill

Where did we get the notion that life is pretty much over when we hit retirement? How many times have I heard, "I can't do that. I'm too old." Is it programmed in us by our parents or does society "throw us away" after we reach a "certain age?"

I argue against all these old-fogy ideas. We have recently learned that we must keep our brains young by learning new things. What better way to do this than to go back to school and find something exciting and new to explore.

It is tremendously rewarding to be in the counseling program. Yes, I am competing with much younger students since I am already retired. But I have to say that this has not been terribly hard so far. What I lack in short-term memory is more than compensated by my knowledge of what it takes to be successful in life.

Now I'm not talking about money success. I'm talking about the kind of success that brings about contentment and peace. I've had plenty of opportunity to learn from failure. I have also learned to be patient with others and my own shortcomings.

But through the counseling program, I have learned that each of us is responsible to find his or her own path in life. We have the capacity to grow and enrich our lives and others as long as we live. I have read about famous theorists who continued to contribute to the field of counseling right up to their last breath. Albert Ellis was giving lectures in a nursing home while he was attached to an oxygen tank shortly before he died.

Therefore I would encourage any student or potential student out there to stop listening to the voice in their head that says "it is too late for me to go to school. Our broken world needs people like us that can shine a light of hope and share our hard earned life lessons.

Carol Whiteley is a counselor in training at Argosy University in Atlanta.

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