Just Friday before last, I got to attend my first ever DCI (Drum Corps International) competition. For those of you unlearned, it’s pretty much the major leagues for marching bands. The different Corps have their own followings, their own fans, their own T-shirts … their own sponsors.
It’s a big deal.
Now granted, it’s not for everyone. But for the ones that it is for …. it is the “thing” for them.
The show was amazing. The music was thrilling, and the formations crisp and precise. In the process of the evening (because, remember, this is the Major Leauge), the DCI folks had “field-side” reporters interviewing members of the Corps as they completed their performances. I’ll admit, it was kind of cheezy, until close to the end, one of the color guard (the members that use the flags and rifles in the shows) engaged in this conversation with the reporter (I’m paraphrasing – well, except for the last part)
Reporter: “So, an awesome show. What was your favorite part?”
Guard: “Oh, by far, the wobbly-bumps after the dingle dangles” (enter my professional summary).
Reporter: “So, is this your last year?”
Guard: Yeah. “It is, I age out in November. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I can feel it. I’m getting too old for this.”
I lean in to my friend, and ask “What age do you age out of the Corps?” He replies:
Yeah, you heard that. 22.
This got me thinking (I know, I know … I do think a lot … but seriously…), 22 is too old for something? Well, yeah. Olympic Gymnasts normally hit their prime age 15-17, heck a lot of Olympians hit their prime by age 30. It’s not just athletes, either. How many times did you think to yourself that you were ‘too old’ for something?
To be perfectly honest, when we are telling ourselves we are “too old” for something, we are really saying a myriad of things (not all of which are bad things):
I am too busy for that.
I’m not in shape enough for that.
I have become interested in other things.
That thing is not important to me.
My career goals don’t mesh well with that activity.
I am burnt out from that activity.
That thing was once a joy, now it is a stress.
I want to do something new.
I don’t think I can accomplish that.
You see, whenever we are telling ourselves that we are “too old” (or enter other excuse here), what we are telling ourselves is not that our bodies aren’t capable of the activity (though in some rare instances that is the case), what we are telling ourselves is …
That specific activity, idea, purpose, passion … is not a priority for me.
This isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, we need convincing that certain things in our lives are not benefiting ourselves as much as as they once were, or as much as we desperately want believe them to be benefiting us. Sometimes, we need the reality check of letting some tasks, ideas, or even dreams go, to make room for what is in store tomorrow.
Sometimes, we need the idea that we are “too old”, to bolster our resolve. To stop taking the excuses of our physical body, and master whatever it is that we need to master.
So which is it? Well, if I told you, I would just write a book and become a millionaire.
Just remember, that when you say: “I can’t”, It always means something, and while you may not be immediately sure what it means, never take that moment of potential insight for granted.