Nasjonalbiblioteket from Norway, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of us spent our youth studying good works and exited college with a degree or two. Others instead bloomed later in life, becoming opsimaths in their pursuit of more learning.

Opsimath: one who begins to learn or study late in life.

Not exactly a well-known Greek word, but there it is. And I’m guilty as charged.

I did not do well in college, except for those courses that interested me. Sound familiar? It’s the bane of many kids who went to college automatically after high school, more because it was expected than they knew what they wanted to study or clear about a calling or intended vocation.

Not sure exactly when I earned my opsimath merit badge, but it was after years of reading and writing, two things I always enjoyed (provided I could pick the what of each). Back in corporate days, I often used the imagery of a three-legged stool, the lesson being if you could only pick two out of three things, you could still sit, albeit a bit wobbly. But if you can have all three things working for you, it’s stability and chances for success improve. Being a lifelong learner to me is one leg, the other two being yoga/walking and a vegetarian diet. At least I started early on one out of three, but eventually came around to all three touching the ground.

The adage “You’re never too old to learn” is absolutely true, whether you’re a child of the 60s and thought 30 was old, or a thirty-something fearing it’s too late to be on track as the next great author, or a modern when in your 50s you felt aged. The same adage extends to being a creative, too: “You’re never too old to write,” (or paint, or sing, or dance, or sculpt, or… you get the point).

So if you’ve bloomed later in life, and now want to sprout forth in a beautiful flowery display of some pursuit you’ve held back on all these years… don’t use age as an excuse: just get out there and do it.

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