My Dad turned 89 on April 16. He’s as proud of achieving this age as anyone turning 21. And he’s not alone. His best friend, Roy, is 89, too. In fact, the two of them are going to see who can make it to 90 first.
Roy has been in my Dad’s life since they were both three years old. Both men are still full of hell. (I can only imagine the trouble they got into as young boys because they are such mischief makers.) So, what is the difference between them? My Dad is in a nursing home and Roy visits him.
Needless to say, in 83 years, Roy and my Dad have gone through thick and thin together. The difference is Roy is still running a business from his home; he travels, and constantly tries new things. He built a lightweight plane and flew it, as well as learned to ski at age 70 because he could do it for free at his “old” age.
The difference between them isn’t health. Roy has had heart trouble and cancer, just like my Dad. Both men have had children die before them. Both men have had disappointments and joys in their long lives. So, what’s the difference?
I think the difference is my father has always decided he wasn’t good enough for more. He was reluctant to take a chance. He was cautious. He had a marvelous engineering mind, but he had no one in his life who encouraged him. All he could see was a boy who had lost sight in one eye when he was injured in a “kick the can” accident. All he could see was a boy who only went to 8th grade. Then he married a woman who needed security, so he gave it to her by working at a steady job he hated for thirty years. I think hating to go to work everyday brought on his bad health at a young age, so he had a legitimate excuse not to go back to the factory any longer. His bad health caused him to go on long-term disability at age 48.
I think we can all take a lesson from Roy and my Dad. Putting limits on yourself only will allow you to proceed just so far. Fear of taking a chance will never benefit you. You will never know what you really can achieve if you make excuses for yourself.
So the next time you want to say, “I can’t,” bite your tongue. Take a risk. Don’t put yourself in ICAN’T prison. I don’t think there’s a worse place on earth.