Keep it in Perspective

Who says you’re too old?


I am finishing a Master’s Degree program.  The other day I was having a discussion about career options with a retired gentleman who worked in the field I’m in.  His suggestion to me was to stay in school and get a Ph.D.  I spent the afternoon thinking about that.  I went on the website of our local college to check out their doctoral programs and realized that it would take about 5 years to finish a Ph.D. program.

I balked.

5 years is a long time.  I’m tired of taking classes, writing papers and studying for tests.  I’m making this huge investment and the return is very slowly coming.  Plus, in 5 years I’ll be almost 50.  I’m too old for this.

Fast forward to today.  I’m in my Zumba class and we have this discussion about whether or not to work part-time during retirement.  A retired lady gave us her perspective, then says “…but you’re young, you’ve got a long ways to go until retirement.”  And I agreed “Yeah, retirement is a long way off.”

I guess I’m not “too old” after all.

In our 40’s we like to complain about getting (or being) old.  There are more gray hairs, more wrinkles, new aches and perhaps even that first grandchild. As we look at our twenty-something co-workers it’s easy to start feeling decrepit.  But we have to keep things in perspective.

There are many years left ahead of us.  Even if you choose to retire in your 60’s, that translates into almost 20 years of work remaining.  For some that could mean a whole new career. Don’t curl up into a ball and start biding your time.  Don’t let our youth obsessed culture make you think that you’re at the beginning of the end.

For me…in 5 years I’ll be almost 50 whether I get this Ph.D, or not.  The difference is will I be 50 with a Ph.D or 50 without one?  I’ve got some thinking to do…

What about you?  What have you balked at recently because you think you’re too old?

Written by Myrtis Smith

African American. Female. Christian. Sometimes-Vegetarian.

Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend.

Writer. Teacher. Zumba Enthusiast.