Changing notions

Age being a barrier to personal success and development is a redundant concept

Changing notions

Is age really a barrier? This is a question that crops up in conversations often, especially when people are made to realise that they are either too young or old to engage in a particular endeavour. If that particular activity poses a threat to their life, it should by all means be avoided, but there is no right or wrong age to pursue a new interest, study further or start learning a skill.

The concept of age being a barrier to anything if it involves learning or acquiring a new language or skill or hobby is outdated. Certain activities are more likely to be adopted by a particular age. However, a person can explore and experiment with new concepts and careers later in life. Many, unfortunately, find it challenging to prioritise themselves. For instance, many women in their twenties who are married off without completing their degrees become so occupied with their family commitments that returning to education seems impossible. A few are brave enough to marry, have a family and sustain a career, but those who do so likely have the emotional and moral support of their in-laws and spouses. It all boils down to grit and determination.

Later on, when these women find the time, carrying on from where they left off seems like scaling a mountain. The realisation or embarrassment of attending classes with individuals half their age is a significant factor that may keep many from taking the plunge.

Many are still stuck with the antiquated mindset that there is an age and time for everything. However, some take everything in their stride and carry on with their lives, making room for whatever they can without disturbing their routines.

A prime example is Pauline Richards, who shifted careers and turned into a sky surfer at the age of forty, abandoning a business she had built from scratch and a stable income. Most people would call her insane, but she was following her heart and her ambition. Richards excelled at the sport and died under mysterious circumstances. The sports enthusiast’s immense self-confidence and self-assurance turned her into an example for many like her.

Forty is no longer a fear-inducing number; with so many women having children in their forties, changing gears midway does not seem to be a huge risk any longer. Although this might not have been the norm two decades ago, advances in medical technology mean that people are living longer and so have more time than before post-retirement to pursue hobbies and indulge in productive pastimes which, apart from being entertaining and educating, keep them physically and mentally strong. These also provide a social outlet for them and keep loneliness and depression at bay.

Age is merely a number. More and more people are becoming ardent followers of this philosophy. Women who feel that they are not ready for a family are freezing their eggs, so they still have the choice to become a parent later on in life when they think the time is right. Their ambitions do not have to be compromised in the process. Although quite a few people baulk and cringe at the mere thought, it gives people the freedom to make choices which no longer have to be dictated by their biological clock.

A positive outlook is all one needs. Changing careers, experimentation at an advanced stage in life is not impossible or inconceivable. The ability to accept change and adapt can impact one’s career trajectory. Risk-taking and a go-getter attitude can open many avenues for the willing and the determined.

The writer is an educationist and can be reached at [email protected]

Changing notions