There are a lot of perceptions about getting older that just aren’t true, many of which play into our fear of aging. The idea that somehow our ability to start a new venture later in life is limited — whether it’s beginning a new career, developing a skill, or exploring a new hobby — is one of the biggest misconceptions. You’re not too old to jump into something new (in fact, there’s a lot working in your favor!). Here are five reasons why.
Learning is good for you
Not only is it a joy and a challenge to be able to learn new things and build mastery of any given skill, it’s actually been proven to keep your mind sharp. A study in Psychological Science showed that when older people were assigned the task of learning a new skill, not only did it help improve their memory, but acted as a preventative measure against dementia.
You’ve already got skills
It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent the first part of your professional life in an area that’s totally different from the one you’re embarking on — if you’re starting a new career, you can use the skills you’ve acquired thus far. These skills include general “soft skills” (such as interpersonal abilities, workplace etiquette, and time management) as well as the job specific skills you’ve learned from your previous career. Your experience with, say, organization and time management are welcome strengths you can bring to any endeavor.
Your priorities are different
If you’ve decided to take up a new hobby, your focus will be different. Learning to play an instrument in midlife, for example, can be a great way to relax, enjoy yourself, and maybe even connect with things you dreamed about doing as a kid — but without the same sense of pressure. This isn’t “What will I do when I grow up?” It’s “I’m grown up, and I’m doing this.” Starting something new might be a great way to relax. For example, taking up writing can be downright therapeutic and also turn out to be the beginning of something more elaborate, such as starting your own blog, becoming a freelance writer, or writing a novel.
You’re in good company
The idea of going back to school in midlife may feel daunting, but if you do, you won’t be alone. Last year, Forbes reported that adult students are the majority of degree seekers: “College classes are seeing increasing numbers of students… who, on the first day of class, are introducing themselves as career-changers, retirees and grandparents.” In addition, Forbes notes that many institutions are expanding the ways adult students can earn a degree, including more online programs.
Time is going to do its thing, why shouldn’t you?
If you’re dreaming about getting certified as a yoga instructor or taking up the ukulele, think about it this way. The time it takes — whether it’s one year or four or more — is going to pass anyway. (And as we know, that’s true for high school grads and midlifers alike.) It’s up to you where you’ll be in that time in relation to pursuing your dreams.
Also read: Never too late to learn new skills