Last week I read a terrific essay in the New York Times by Edward Kelsey Moore entitled “At 52, Not Too Old for a Debut Novel.” He wrote it in response to the question he is constantly asked since the publication of his debut novel, The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat: “Aren’t you too old for this?”
He says that the skepticism he received when answering that he’s not too old for anything made him consider what he is too old for. He goes on to list some of the things he has decided he is too old for at 52 – too old to drink to excess in public, too old to dress anachronistically. Too old to believe time is on his side.
Just the fact that he is asked that question over and over again shows what an ageist society we live in. As someone who my first short story published when I was in my 40s, I’ve always believed we can do anything we set our minds to, no matter our age. His essay got me thinking, though, and I have to admit I’ve decided there are some things I may be past the age to do.
- Wear Daisy Dukes. In fact, if you are old enough to get the Daisy Duke reference, you are probably too old to wear them.
- Twerk. On second thought that might not be an age thing. Twerking is just not attractive. (I do think I should get extra youth points for knowing what it is, though.)
- Think I am the center of the universe. Hard to accept, but at some point most sane people do indeed accept this. Usually not until their 40s, however.
- Care what everyone else thinks. I’ve never been overly worried about this, but the older I get, the less I give a s*#t.
- Judge the value of my life by how much money I make. Good thing.
- And most importantly, I am too old to believe it when others say I am too old to do something. Whether it’s to write a novel, or to skydive, or to skinny dip.
There will always be people who say you can’t do something, because of your age, or your sex, or one of a million other reasons. Don’t believe them. You are never too old to follow your dreams.