What If You Weren't "Too Old"?

When I was eighteen, I admonished myself for being “too old” to become a ballet dancer. When I was twenty-eight, I did an informational interview with a producer at the public television station in Boston who told me I was “too old” to be a documentary filmmaker. (Because presumably I should have already won an Emmy!) In my worst moments now when I’m really “too old” for many more things, I revert back to my “too old” refrain. Too old to be skinny. Too old to be a concert pianist. To old to make it big.

This summer, when I asked myself what I would do if I wasn’t too old the answer was: take a dance class.

So, I signed up for a “Rock Your Body” class that I was positively too old for at the Northwest Dance Project which is taught by Franco Nieto, one of the company’s dancers. It’s a class that’s advertised as being “for absolute beginners” which is a lie unless these “beginners” are very young and very fit.

My neighbor friend Rene joined me on Sundays and for an hour we “rocked our bodies” including jazz, yoga, hip-hop, kickboxing, and the cha-cha. It seemed that Franco included every form of movement ever invented. Each week the class almost killed me. But I loved it because every Sunday night, my body felt so alive.

Sometimes with my clients and students, we play a game: “What if you weren’t too old?” Wanna try?

Quick. You’ve got three minutes to write down what you would do in your art or your marketing or your life if you weren’t too old? This is what some of them said:

“I’d write every day like a fiend.”

“I wouldn’t worry about offending anyone.”

“I’d write those emails and make those phone calls to get my work into the world.”

The idea that they weren’t too old put them in touch with urgency, in a productive way.

This weekend ask yourself: What would you do if you weren’t too old? You may find like my students and I did that you have more motivation to do the things you said you always wanted to do.