Yesterday I turned another year older. With the arm still moving through its recovery process, I found myself struggling to feel entirely positive about adding an extra year to the sum of my life. It’s just part of my frustration with being slowed down when moving toward a goal, specifically one such as getting in shape for a film that I need to sell my physicality on.
As I get deeper into my 30’s I find myself wrestling with the question of how much time a guy has to make an impact through youthful resilience and risk taking. The responsibilities of fatherhood, marriage, making a living, and minimizing injury all press on the mind as reasons to feel the clock of age beginning to turn against the more youthful desires of the heart.
I had to give my head another shake, get mad and snap out of it. I was falling into the trap that hits many of us when life knocks the wind out of our sails. Something in our circumstances and our head starts telling us, ‘It’s time to sit down and get old because we had our chance. Our fortunes have changed; the time for boldness has come and gone.’ I suppose every big change or big endeavor is tested in its resolve in this way. We can shake off that fear or surrender to the lethargy of age.
A time will come, maybe it already has, when you will question if you can still take a stand and become what you once believed you could. That day will make you doubt you have what it takes, because your body will hurt in ways it never used to, your heart will have been crushed in ways that can make optimism feel like a fantasy, and personal failures will humble you into seeing how little you know.
Don’t let these hard things cripple you; let them be tools that cause you to find the grit to carry on, even when others would lie down under the pressure. In the end it’s not how hard you can shake your fist that gives you courage and a youthful heart, its whether or not you’re still willing to curl your fingers in a ball, get up and start swinging with all the strength you still have left.
Being young of heart at the dawn life takes no courage; it is just the way things are. However, being young of heart, when life has laid its scars and years on you, takes the courage and boldness to stand with the weight of the world on your shoulders. You’ve got to be brave enough to recognize you never have to throw in the towel in life, because the only person that will make you step out of the ring is you.
This is your one life of mortal flesh and bone and you never have to sit down or shrivel up. That will be your choice. Until your last breath, this is your time to do something. Be bold or get old.