This article was written by Krishna Ruffin for the HonorSociety.org Elevate e-magazine. This series features top featured writers from the HonorSociety.org writing program. The original article can be found here.
What in the world was I thinking? Going back to school, at MY age? I must have fallen and bumped my head on this one. I am too old. I don’t have time. I can’t afford it. What am I going to do with a degree? I am too old to change careers now.
Sounds familiar? Yup, I figured it would. These are the same things I told and asked myself when I enrolled into college at 40 years old. It sounded like a good idea at first but then I started thinking; and that is where I messed up. As do most of us when we start to think instead of do. In order for you to get moving, you must move. It is very easy to talk about what it is you want to do, your goals, visions and desires. It is that much easier to talk yourself out of accomplishing those things by making excuses and giving reasons why you can’t. We often allow life to happen around us and even pass us by because we are afraid to just do it. We count ourselves out before giving ourselves a chance.
Fear of the unknown is one of the reasons we don’t move forward. We don’t know what to expect or if we are going to be successful. We don’t really know if we have the ability to do whatever it is that is on our hearts to do. For me, it was going back to school after 20 years. I was scared, doubtful, nervous. I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the workload and understand the assignments. Even after the first class had started, I still questioned whether I made the right decision. For you, it may be something else. You may be contemplating a career change, getting married, starting a family, relocating or taking that trip around the world. Making moves and doing something different is scary. You definitely have to count up the cost, but while you are counting up the cost, don’t forget to count up the rewards and benefits that you will gain as well.
If you find yourself bored, tired of the monotony and want something different out of life, then you have to do something different. Step out on faith and take a chance. Just do it! Don’t ask for anyone’s approval or opinion. Don’t even ask yourself for permission. Just do it! When you make that move, you will experience a freedom and power like never before. The satisfaction you gain by accomplishing something that you have put off or never thought you would do is immeasurable. I felt so good walking across that stage to receive my diploma. I worked hard for it and I earned it. I had to stop justifying why it took me so long to do it and just be proud of myself for doing it.
So what’s the first step? I am glad you asked! The first step is to decide what exactly it is you want to do and why? Is this something you are passionate about or is this a bucket list item? If it is something you are passionate about and it has significant meaning to you, then you will be dedicated and focused on achieving it. You may just need a push to move forward. If it is a bucket list item, then it may not be as pressing for you to get started. That’s ok, you just need to decide which category it falls into. Think about a time frame in which you want to accomplish this endeavor. Be reasonable and don’t put any undue pressure on yourself with unreasonable time restraints, however, don’t give yourself too much wiggle room either or you will continue to procrastinate. Next you want to consider your resources. Do you have the means to fund your goal or will it take others to buy into what you want to achieve? Will you have to take student or personal loans and what does that look like for you? I know it seems overwhelming; but, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
You can do it. You are smart enough. You do have the time. You are not too old. Just do it!