Today is my 70th birthday and I’m going to Disneyland! Actually, I’ve been invited to a special preview at Pixar Studios—to see a short film based on a program I did some years ago and featuring an animated version of myself. The film will be shown as an introduction to Toy Story 3, and it will be as thrilling for me at 70 as it would have been for the boy I was at 7. We never outgrow our need for dreams.
You are the age you are—period. Yet those thoughts swirling around inside and outside of your head are ageless. You’re the perfect age right here in this moment, and your body can be no other age than what it is. Identify yourself in what Lao-tzu calls “the subtle realm,” or the invisible domain of Spirit, with thoughts like these: I am ageless, and I can train my body to work with me in achieving anything I can conceive of in my mind. There’s nothing about my age today that prohibits me from fulfilling my dreams.
I’ve had two very persuasive callings in my life. One occurred when I knew I’d be pursuing a college education regardless of being the oldest freshman on campus. Age was of no consequence to me. In fact, the eight years I spent as a student on several college campuses to earn my three academic degrees were accomplished in part because I was so unconcerned about my age. I was living my passion, and everything else took a backseat to that vision.
My second huge calling came at the age of 65 years and one day. Compelled to detach myself from worldly possessions accumulated over many decades, I disposed of clothes, furniture, books, records, awards, photographs, and memorabilia of all description. Studying and living the Tao Te Ching, I wrote an essay on each of the 81 verses in a book titled Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life. That I might be too old simply never occurred to me.
As I look back on my life, I realize that I’ve made many smaller decisions where I refused to consider age as a factor. At the age of 42, I decided to become a long-distance runner and ran the original Greek marathon. At the age of 17, I decided to write my first novel; and at the age of 9, I faked my age to get a paper route (10 was the “required” age).
Now, at the age of 70, I can’t conceive of thinking that I’m too old to do what I love. I continue to live life by activating my particular dharma or destiny and invite my ageless mind to keep on participating in my life.
The greatest gift you have been given is the gift of your imagination.
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