Last update: October 19, 2016
There are many myths about age that still survive today, even though the evidence to dispel them is remarkable and highly visible.
The first is that which sees age as a determinant of possibilities. Nowadays, no one is too young or too old to reach those dreams that seem past or for which, it is said, is not the right time. We see it every day, but still we can't convince ourselves that, as long as you're alive, it's never too late.
It is young people who earn the most, because they are the ones who have dispelled the myth that it takes decades of experience to achieve success.
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg are proof of this. Just like these people who, without many years on their shoulders, have achieved goals that no one would have bet on, there is no shortage of cases of elderly people who have succeeded in making their dream come true.
"Getting older is like climbing a big mountain: during the climb, the forces are reduced, but the gaze is freer, life is wider and more serene".
Despite this, years, gray hair and all the characteristics of old age are certainly not in fashion. For this reason, usually, those who have lived for more than four decades think that they are no longer of age to propose new goals or to pursue those hopes that they have touched in the most courageous moments of their lives. There is nothing more wrong. As long as you are alive, it is never late.
New opportunities have nothing to do with age, but with three basic virtues: perseverance, focus and passion. The first two almost always arrive with maturity, but passion is one of those qualities that is abandoned over time.
For this reason, many older people do not think they have the right to dream or to pursue everything they have always wanted, even if they are having the perfect time to do so. Let's see some famous examples that should be enough to convince us.
Charles Darwin knew it was never too late
The publication of The Origin of Species completely changed the history of contemporary science. Still, did you know that Charles Darwin was fifty when he succeeded? Even though he embarked on his own research adventure at 22, it took him nearly 30 years to complete his assignment. His was the most innovative research of his time, even though he could already see his own gray hair.
In his autobiography, Charles Darwin dedicated a few sentences to perfectly describe his idea about it:
My success as a man of science, whatever it may have been, is due, it seems to me, to various and complex intellectual qualities and conditions. The most important were: love for science, infinite patience in reflecting at length on each topic, great diligence in observing and collecting facts and a certain amount of imagination and common sense. It is truly amazing that, with such modest skills, I have been able to influence the opinions of scientists on some important subjects in such a remarkable way.
Late writers and geniuses
José Saramago is, still today, one of the most widely read writers in the world. However, what many do not know is that this Portuguese writer achieved his first literary success at the age of 58, with his novel A land called Alentejo, a success that he managed to consolidate in the following years with other novels, which brought him then to win the Nobel Prize in 1998.
African American writer Toni Morrison published her first book at the age of 40. Then, 22 years later, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Similarly, the great British writer Penelope Fitzgerald published her first book just before she turned 60. After many personal and literary shipwrecks, she finally succeeded in fulfilling her dream of publishing one of her works and, a couple of years later, she won the Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the UK.
Another interesting case is that of Winston Churchill, who did not reach power until the age of 66. He was one of the most important politicians in the entire history of Great Britain and, moreover, he decided the fate of the Second World War. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 76.
These and many other stories, such as that of Alexander Flemming, who discovered penicillin, Walt Disney, Raymond Chandler, Ang Lee and many others are proof that age has nothing to do with achieving one's dreams. It is only too late when we give up dreaming or when death comes to claim us and, as far as we know, it deprives us of any new opportunity.