I hate this thing we call age. I hear people refer to it all the time. "You're too young to do this" or "you're too old to do that." We are ruled by our primitive notions about how people at a certain age are supposed to act. It's ridiculous and sad.
Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say that he is too old to get in shape, that he's an old dog who can't learn new tricks? Like so many age-related preconceptions, that's just an excuse. Try getting in shape. If you do, you'll probably find out that you're a lot younger than you think.
The truth is that age is nothing more than a number. I've seen people in their 80s who could run most teenagers into the ground. And I've seen teenagers who've already reached a cumulative point in life. It's mindset, not age, that counts.
That's why I refuse to tell anyone my age. If I could get away with it, I wouldn't even tell my mother. The minute I attach an age to myself, I'll be expected to act a certain way, dress a certain way, think a certain way. The hell with that. I'm not an age. I'm a human being. I refuse to be trapped by a number.
A few years ago I had a very interesting experience with this age thing that proved to me how biased people can be. At the time, I was working with the Kansas City Royals baseball team as a sports psychologist. I had been there for three years when I heard about a job I was interested in at their research center. I had the credentials to get the position, so I applied for it immediately.
That same week my boxing coach called and told me about a tournament in the South. Since the winners would be sent to Germany to fight at an international tournament, I packed my bags. But when I got there, I was told that even if I won—which I went on to do—they weren't going to send me to Germany. They wanted to send younger athletes so that they would gain international experience. So even though I was the best fighter in my division, I couldn't represent them in Germany because of this thing called age.
When I got home, I found out that despite being selected as the top candidate for the research position I had applied for, I was considered too young for the job. Consequently, in less than 48 hours, I was told I was too old and too young to do something that I wanted to do, and deserved. What nonsense. If I hadn't told anyone my age, no one would have been the wiser.
This might seem trivial, but did you know that of the 26,000 people in the United States who commit suicide every year that the majority are under the age of 16 and over the age of 50? This statistic shows how our society treats the young and the old. We don't want them around. We beat them down. We ignore them, rather than tap into their beauty and productivity.
You want numbers? Nolan Ryan threw his seventh no-hitter when he was 44 years old. Mozart was only 7 when his first composition was published. George Foreman won the world heavyweight boxing championship at 46. William Pitt was 24 when he became prime minister of Great Britain. Fred Hatfield squatted over 1,000 pounds when he was 46. Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at age 16 and a framer of the Constitution when he was 81.
Obviously, age has little to do with ability. You are never too young or too old, if you've got talent and perseverance. I like what Leo Buscaglia says when someone asks him his age. "In some ways I'm not even born yet. And in other ways, I'm an adolescent and I'm struggling, and I'm rebelling, and I'm really raising hell. And in other ways, I'm a sage. What do years have to do with my age?"
Think about that. What you do in life is important, not when you do it. When you say you are too young or too old for something, you're closing your mind to it. You're never too young or old for anything. Don't believe what they might tell you, because age is in your, or their, head and nowhere else.
Yours in strength,
Dr. Judd Biasiotto