When I was cleaning out my apartment last week, I discovered a small tattered piece of paper hidden in the pages of The Artist's Way. On it I had scribbled the words, “It's never too late.” I was transported back to an unexpected encounter that changed my perspective on aging and learning.
Last summer, I attended a meditation retreat led by Sharon Salzburg at the Garrison Institute. It is one of my favorite escapes outside of NYC to deepen my meditation practice and recharge.
The very first morning during breakfast, I was approached by an energetic octogenarian named Tripp. He asked if he could join me.
“Of course you can”, I said. “Please sit down.“
We jumped right into conversation. I asked him how long he has been meditating.
Tripp remarked, “Three months. I'm hooked. How about you?”
I thought to myself, only three months?!?! I was disappointed and surprised. Given his age, I was expecting him to have at least thirty or forty years of practice under his belt.
Now I was curious. I wondered out loud, "Tripp, if you don't mind me asking, what compelled you to pick up meditation at this stage in your life?"
He looked at me with excitement and positivity, and said, “Steve, it’s never too late to get started. I'm thankful I discovered meditation when I did. The practice has already had a profound impact on my life.”
In that moment, I pulled out a small notebook that was stuffed in my pocket. I jotted down Tripp's words of wisdom along with my own additions:
- It's never too late...
- It’s never too late to begin meditating
- It’s never too late to learn a new skill
- It's never too late to create art
- It’s never too late to end an old habit
- It's never too late to switch careers
- It's never too late to get healthy and fit
- It's never too late to launch a blog or podcast
- It's never too late to start a company
- It's never too late to make amends
- It's never too late to build the life you want
These simple words carry a powerful message and valuable lesson. We can always start something and change ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we are graduating college, entering midlife, or living out our last decade.
Tripp is living proof that you can approach any stage of life as a beginner and a learner. We only stop growing and learning when we stop ourselves. Life is a bright tapestry filled with possibilities and potentials.
What's burning inside of you?