Am I too old?

I have been asking this question for a couple days. It’s not an actual question, because as soon as the words are out of my mouth/brain, I’ve already decided the obvious answer is “Yes.” Always.

So, it is really less a question and more a statement: I am too old. I struggle to write just a blog post. I am approaching 44 full years on this planet. I left a professional writing job (if you can call it that) 20 years ago. Maybe this ship has sailed.

This is also the argument I made when I decided not to learn Spanish when I was 23. My roommate was learning Spanish and getting pretty good at it, and I admired her for her dedication and skill. The USDA offered foreign language classes in Washington DC, so I decided to try it. I bought the books and the tapes and I dutifully attended 3 classes. I quickly realized it was difficult and at times humiliating. So I decided I was just too old to learn a new language, put the books and tapes in a box, and stopped going.

Now, I think: I was only 23! I was so young! Older Me looks at Younger Me and says: What the hell? It’s exponentially harder to learn a new language at 43 than 23. Why didn’t you stick with it? Obviously it’s REALLY too late now.

So, when I determine I am too old to get any better at writing, or do anything new with it, I fall back on my reliable resistance motifs. I will be friends with writers. I’ll be a really avid READER. I’ll talk about other people’s work and admire it. My brain has become too stiff and unreliable to learn new tricks.

I’ll be the person who writes really good work emails because I know how to craft an argument. I can string words together and make them sound okay. The bar is set pretty low for doctors. You think our handwriting is bad; you should see our typed correspondence. Apparently many of us failed to learn punctuation in third grade.

I spend so much time thinking about the alternatives to writing, I fail to notice I am getting older while I am thinking about it. I fail to notice the very passage of time because I am occupied with figuring out reasons NOT to do what I want.

The truth is we will never be as young as we are at this moment in time. Ever again. Don’t get me wrong: getting older is really quite preferable to the alternative. My mind uses it as just another form of resistance, though.

Luckily with age we have memory (hopefully). I remember you, resistance, and you succeeding in preventing me from learning Spanish when I was 23. I’m 43 now. Hopefully I will not look back on this time when I am 63 and think: Why didn’t you just stick with it? Obviously it’s REALLY too late now!

To that end, I am going to conclude this post and go get some writing done. After all, I’m not getting any younger.

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