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Age Is Not A Barrier

Age is not a barrier

I was coaching some people this week who told me they were old and were living for retirement and it was funny as I heard about the feisty Eileen Smith this week in Cullercoats (whose age will be my secret)  who does not let age be a barrier.

It’s funny how when you start thinking about something you start noting more things. I was then reading this week about Europe’s oldest person, French nun Sister Andre, who had just survived Covid. She turned 117 last Thursday. As she was being released from hospital she was asked what next. She said a birthday feast, Glass of champagne and her favourite dessert, baked Alaska.

I said, what a nun. Go sister go! She reminded me of how much living is in front of all of us.

The question often for me is: why do people use age as a convenient excuse?

‘I’m too old to start something new’ or ‘I couldn’t learn that at my age.’

Other people, though, go on to achieve their greatest accomplishments in life in later years. Take Sir Tom at 100-year-old raised almost £33m for NHS charities. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison and, 31 years ago last week, left Robben Island in his 70s and went on to change the world’s history.

I heard about Ann Robinson, 76 this week, going to do Countdown. Or again this week, Tom Brady, 43, won Super Bowl quarterback. Or Trump and Biden, both in their late 70s, going on to be the most powerful people on earth.

There are people who are old at 30 and people who are young at 80.

I say age should never be a barrier.

So which thought habits make the biggest difference when we think of age?

What separates the 90-year-old marathon runners from those who at 50 feel life is winding down?

Here are a couple of tips designed to help ensure that age becomes nothing more than a number.

The first step is to value more those things associated with ageing — such as emotional maturity and wisdom.

This doesn’t mean that people should ignore the challenges that come with ageing. Rather, it requires a more positive approach that fights back against stereotypes.

While it’s okay to recognise that you can’t do certain activities as easily as in the past, resist the temptation to give them up altogether.

Instead, we must focus on ways we can continue to make them part of our daily life and continually improve.

The second step is maintaining a sense of purpose. This can also play a major role in maintaining vitality as you age.

Many ageing individuals find renewed purpose and energy by participating new skills / new ventures / new businesses. Retirement doesn’t mean that there’s nothing meaningful left to do. By directing one’s focus to a new venture, it becomes easier to avoid negative stereotypes associated with ageing.

You know all studies and insights point to the same thing — that ageing really is nothing more than a state of mind. The real challenge is coming to truly believe that ourselves.

I believe we can keep ourselves young by surrounding ourselves with things that make us feel young and here are some words I wrote on this topic:

You are never too old.

Your looks may be nothing special,
Wrinkles reveal your age,
your body shows some wear and tear,
But you still could have passion to rage

So like a bird on the wing that flies with no sound
you’re never too old.
To start a new day
To relish each moment
To carve a new way

Like a fine velvet chair that wraps you around
You are never too old
Nor over the hill
To go be the dream you dare

Like a twist in the surf, as you watch it unfold,
you’re never too old
To let it all go
To love one another
To learn and to grow

Like a vaccine for life
You are never too old
To give Covid a push
dry falling tears and comfort the poor

Like a knot in your sail or a hurricane gale,
you’re never too old
To kick into touch
Any heart aching pain

Like a child wide-eyed with nothing to fear
you’re never too old
To sing a new song
Tear down the years
Start living again

Like a valentines kiss that you gave or you missed,
you’re never too old
to never forget,
Age is no barrier.
It’s a thought in your mind
Leave it behind
You can make History yet .

I can take you to success. I coach ordinary people every day to do extra-ordinary things. I coach extra-ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things. The difference is those who have a dream, and are prepared to follow said dream, are extraordinary, and just need a structure and support system to kick off that journey, which will finish with them sliding in fast sideways to the grave, totally worn out from the relentless living of their dreams, screaming out loudly “Wow holy sh*t, what a ride!”

If that is you – start today! If you are looking for coaching on change for yourself or your organisation, or would like more information on the work we do on Personal, Professional, or Organisational Change, please contact us on

About Dr Maurice Duffy

Irish. Author, Professor, Coach and Business strategist. The person Australian Captain Steve Smith credited with helping him back from his cricket ban. Coach to two Ashes wins. Coach to CEOs, Politicians and some of the best know international sports starts including Olympians. BBC ‘Thought for the Week’. Coached business leaders and organizations in 80 countries. Works with charities to do with Mental Health. Lives in North East England with his wife and 11-year-old son.