Today I want to talk about the role that time, and more specifically – age, plays in Choosing The Life You Want. Over the years that I’ve been speaking and writing about this topic, I’ve had plenty of people explain to me why it’s simply too late in the game for them to reinvent themselves. They all have very good reasons to back up their thinking.
“I’m too old to do THAT.”
“It’s too late for me to start something like THAT now.”
“That boat has already sailed and I missed it.”
“I don’t have enough time to learn THAT.”
and the old favorite “You can’t teach and old dog new tricks”
When we say theses sorts of things to ourselves and to others, we think of them as ‘reasons’, even ‘logical reasons’. But come on, let’s be honest – they’re excuses. Plain and simple. Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to my friend André.
André Cyr was a truck driver. For 40 years he drove a cement truck. When he retired it would have been perfectly reasonable for him to slow down. He’d worked hard. He and his wife had raised three girls. Surely he deserved a rest, didn’t he? But that’s not how André operates.
In fact, rather than slowing down, André used his retirement as an opportunity to really get going! He loved watching figure skaters on television, so he decided to take up the sport. At the age of 65, he bought himself a pair of figure skates. And headed out on the ice to emulate what he saw on TV. Yes, at the age of 65, he taught himself to figure skate by watching TV. (He’s also a YouTube sensation – check out the videos below.)
When rollerblades appeared on the scene, he said to himself: “I’ve got to try that!” So naturally he’s also a very accomplished artistic rollerblader.
André & Hilary
Hilary and I met André one day in the spring of 2014. Downtown Montréal is home to an office tower that features a beautiful atrium with a year-round ice rink. We were out on a beautiful spring walk and stopped into the building to get a bottle of water from the food court (directly beside the ice rink). It didn’t talk long to spot André. He was in the centre of the ice, smartly dressed and doing slow, graceful turns and spins. It was clear from looking at him that he was not a young man, but he had the moves of someone much younger. We were especially amazed when he lifted one leg, grabbed his skate blade and lifted the leg over his head while looping backwards!
We waited until he came off the ice (which he only did because the Zamboni was going to clear the ice surface) and approached him to say how impressed we were with his skill. It didn’t take long for him to tell us his story. He proudly raised his foot to show us the skates he bought at age 65 – the same skates he wears today, 17 years later. That’s right, he’s still going at the age of 82! He comes to this rink three times a week to skate.
So the next time you say to yourself: “I’m too old to change my life now”, head for downtown Montréal, find the ice rink at 1000 de la Gauchietièr and watch André at work. He’ll change your mind in a hurry. (And tell him that Patrick and Hilary sent you.)
And here’s a video from Michel Demers of André rollerblading (the audio is French, but there are subtitles.) Skater – by Michel Demers