“I wish I were younger”: Too late for self-development?

A response I sometimes get to notions of self-development, changing ourselves, is the idea that, for me, it’s too late.
I’m too old.
I missed my chance, and now there’s no point in me making all these changes.
I’m just too far behind.
And it’s very understandable to have this feeling, that we sort of have a picture of how life should unfold, that when we’re young, we are then in this sort of plastic, mouldable state, where we can learn the best way to be, and then we become something.
Through our youth and our education, we’re being formed into an adult.
And then as an adult, you are formed.
There you go, you have sort of hardened into a particular shape, and this is who you are.
And so, by the time you are a full adult, you’re basically set for your model of what you are to be in life, fixed and determined.
And then the next stage of life, this fully mature, adult stage, is then not about making fundamental changes to ourselves, but rather simply establishing ourselves in the role that we have chosen or are in, and establishing ourselves with what we’re doing, planting our roots, solidifying, and establishing ourselves.
So when the idea comes of making fundamental changes later on in life, it does seem like this is going out of order.
This is, you know, you missed the boat, because this is something that a young person should do.
And it’s understandable.
But what if you find yourself as a full-grown adult, in terms of your number of years that have gone by since your birth, you’re not young anymore, and yet you find yourself in a position that you are not satisfied with? You’re not satisfied to plant your roots in this particular situation where you find yourself, being who you are and in the situation that you’re in at the moment.
Then, the only choice is to make a change, no matter what age you are.
Because the other alternative would be to simply give up and say it’s too late, I will accept this unsatisfactory position that I’m in and simply give up.
And that is very sad.
To simply give up on what could be and accept what you know to be less than what you could do is really giving up and accepting something mediocre, when you could have something so much greater.
So when I first had this idea of changing myself, self-development, improving myself, I had a lot of those feelings of being too old.
You know, I’m up into my upper thirties, and I’m too old.
You know, I really- wouldn’t it be great if I was even twenty years younger, but, hey, even ten years younger, you know, wow, if I could just be in my upper twenties instead of my upper thirties, and think of all the opportunity.
And here I am, already at an advanced age, and I can hear about stories of people having great achievements in their lives, and they’re younger than me, and so on and so on.
At the beginning of my work in self-development, this was a very powerful voice in me, and I had this strong feeling of regret, and the feeling that too much time had gone by.
But I don’t feel this as much now.
Because, although it’s still, sure, it would be great to be younger and have more time, but it is what it is, and it doesn’t really change the program.
The program is to do the best I can with the time that I have, and that program carries on at whatever age.
So anytime the idea comes up of the idea of it being too late, being too old, just imagine the extreme case of somebody being even seventy years old.
Somebody being seventy, they would look back on their upper thirties as being a time of youth.
And even that person at age seventy, if they were to begin a process of self-development, making fundamental changes to the way of life that they had had for seventy years, and gone through a few years of self-development, they could get to age seventy-five, have a wonderful year with a new perspective on life, have an amazing year of life, and then die, and that would be a wonderful way to end the story.
So much better than simply giving up at seventy that I am the way I am, even though I am not satisfied with it, so I’ll just carry on until it’s over.
So if that’s the choice that someone has at seventy, how much more of a choice do we have in forties, thirties, twenties.
Whatever age we’re at, the idea of too late, even if it’s your last day alive, it’s still never too late.
So at any age, the program is the same.
Get going.

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