Conversations on Aging ~ Priscilla Essert

Priscilla Essert


Beware of self-limiting beliefs ideas about age

Posted on May 5, 2019 by Priscilla Essert

A few weeks ago I received a call from a publisher asking me to write a sequel to a book I wrote back in 2006.  At first I thought it was a joke. I took the guy’s number, hung up, called him back and discovered it was in fact a legitimate offer. Once I knew the offer was real, the next thing that popped into my head was, “Am I too old to write another book?” This surprised me as I didn’t think I had any self-limiting ideas of age, but in fact it appears that I do. And, apparently I am not alone.

A common myth is that we are less adventurous and active as we age.  Well, let me introduce you to Frank Shearer, a retired physician from Washington State who water skied at 100 years of age! When asked about this while on his dream trip to Acapulco, Mexico with his entire family, Frank said “I just ski for fun, and it’s fun out there on a nice day.” Or consider “Motorcycle Man” Heilman, venturing deep into the countryside on his motorcycle in his 90’s. Or Madonna Buder a.k.a “The Iron Nun” who back in 2012 held the title of the oldest woman to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon. None of these folks felt too old for adventure or allowed self-limiting beliefs to get in their way.

Another common myth about aging is that we become less creative. I immediately thought about a woman I recently spoke with who became an author and podcast star in her 80s. Meet Barbra Hana Austin who is proof that you are never too old to try something new. Check out her podcast Kosher Style Stories which are full of wisdom, compassion, humor, and a sharp wit. One of my favorites is “Travel with Rhoda” where she recounts a hilarious road trip with her sister, Rhoda. It had me in stitches. Eileen Kramer danced and choreographed into her early 100s and launched her first book at 104.  She attributes her active life to being creative and always trying new things. No self-limiting thoughts are getting in the way for Barbra or Eileen!

While riding on a wave of inspiration, I did a Google search to see if I could find anything about other noteworthy accomplishments of people over 80. I stumbled upon “Eight Over Eighty” which profiles writers who wrote and published a book in their 80s.  Included are Toni Morrison, Tom Wolfe, Alice Monroe, and …well, let’s just say there’s a very long list.

So, what self-limiting beliefs do you have? Perhaps Toni, Tom, Barbra, Eileen, Frank or others will inspire you to shed them. Once you drag them out into the light, write them down, acknowledge they are beliefs rather than truths, try on a different belief, and take a different action. Sonoma Valley offers so many opportunities to grow, learn, and create. What are you waiting for?


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