In 2017, 79-year-old Lucy Capers crossed the stage at the University of Maryland’s graduation to accept her diploma and degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies. Let me say that again. She was just shy of 80 years old with 13 great-grandchildren and was graduating with people more than 50 years younger. When asked why, she simply said, “I always had a desire to know things.”
I love these stories. It’s worth turning on the news, just on the off-chance something like this will come up. Maybe that’s partly because I’m only 18 years from that age myself. It’s nice to know people can and do still get out there and chase their dreams, even when most others their age would be happy to kick back and coast through the final ride.
My grandson and I have always enjoyed a day at the local theme park. I still enjoy the thrill of a good rollercoaster, especially the ones that defy gravity with loops, corkscrews, and inversions. And as I stand in line for those rides with people who aren’t old enough to buy their own ice cream, it’s heartwarming to see people older than I am in the same line.
Now, I can’t say my doctor would be all that happy about seeing me in that line. That’s okay. He’s too wimpy to ride these things anyway. But there seems to be a misconception that, once we reach a certain age, we’re supposed to start acting like old people.
I’ve always tried to instill a spirit of youth and hope in my daughters and grandchildren, and I’m sure most of you do as well. I always told them they could accomplish anything they set their mind to and encouraged them to embrace their dreams. And let me tell you, kids can dream! It’s hard sometimes not to bring them back to “reality”, but it’s so important that we don’t.
So, at what point in life do we decide dreams are to be reeled in and it’s time to face the real world? For me, it began in high school. I had grand visions of life as a rock star, complete with a waterfront mansion and my own personal yacht. That’s when Dad started coaching my dreams a little and suggested maybe I should come up with a more realistic plan. Okay, his exact words were “get your head out of the clouds and find a real job,” but you get the idea.
And he didn’t mean to be negative. I didn’t mean to be negative as I gave my daughter some career advice when, at the age of 17, she informed me that she was looking for something “in management.” There are, after all, certain steps we have to take if we want to climb a particular ladder. You may skip one or two rungs along the way, but you can’t just jump right to the top.
And, even though I had to dash her dreams for the moment and tell her that being “third key” at the vitamin store just isn’t all that impressive on an executive resume, she eventually climbed that ladder and moved to the top of her career field. Because, like her dad, she never stopped dreaming. Her sister is the same. I guess the nut really doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
What made a 79-year-old think she could go to college and get a degree? The same thing that makes a toddler think they can climb the shelves of the refrigerator to reach the marshmallows. It’s an inner desire, a fire that just won’t be extinguished, and a brain that never learned the meaning of “impossible.”
What are your dreams? More importantly, which of your dreams have you pushed to the side over the years? You know, they never really die. Like an abandoned puppy, they sit there just waiting for the right person to come along and enjoy them for what they are, and what they can become.
Several months ago, a Michigan man found out the rock he’d picked up and had been using as a doorstop for the past 30 years was actually a meteorite worth $100,000. Wonder how many people kicked that rock out of the way before he came along?
You’re never too old to dream. And you’re never too old to act on those dreams. Give up on that whole concept of acting your age and accepting whatever life throws your way. And stop leaving your dreams on the side of the road because you picked up too much extra baggage along the way and something had to go.
Life will deal you enough disappointments without adding any more of your own. And the best way to work through those disappointments is to keep those dreams alive. If you have kids, you’ve probably told them “you can do anything you set your mind to.” Well, maybe it’s time to say it again. Only this time, stand in front of the mirror when you do it.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved