When do we learn to quit? I’ve heard people say that it’s really good that we learn to walk when we do because we wouldn’t have the patience later in our lives. Babies learning to walk take a wobbly step and fall down. They get up and take another wobbly step and fall down. And this goes on and on and on and on. They don’t quit! And they finally learn to walk.
When Do We Learn To Quit?
Some of my readers already know that when I go to my outdoor spin class, there is a playground right next door. I have found it amazing to watch the kids play and see where we learn things, particularly those social interaction kinds of things. This week, however, I noticed something about individual kids being themselves by themselves.
I watched a little girl learning how to turn cartwheels. She tried and collapsed in a heap. She tried again and collapsed in a heap. This went on for a very long time. She never gave up until it was time to go back inside, and she had to stop. I don’t know, but I’ll bet she came out the next day and kept trying. (I had great empathy for her since I never could learn how to turn a good cartwheel!)
Then another group of kids, a bit older, came out for their exercise break. Their challenge was to race each other from one side of the field to the other. They would line up two at a time to run. Some would run as hard as they could no matter how far behind the other runner they were. Others gave up when the other runner got even a little bit ahead of them.
Our Inner Voices
That’s when I started wondering, when do we learn to quit … or not to quit? As we get older this is a very important question. If you’re a woman over 55, society basically is telling you that you’re done, you’re all washed up, it’s time to sit down and take it easy from now on. If you’re in the workforce, you may have been getting those messages for several years already.
What do you listen to? The chatter from coworkers, the media, maybe even family and friends—or do you listen to your own internal wisdom? Do you actually feel “washed up”? Or do you feel as if you’re finally entering a time when you can be yourself, when you can begin to pursue your own interests no matter what others think?
Most of the women I work with and interview on my podcast feel some of the effects of getting older, of course. There’s that annoying knee pain, or the sense of not having quite the same stamina they used to. Yes, for many women those kinds of things are real. What also is real, however, is that they feel more alive, more excited about what may be next, more in touch with their own inner wisdom and desires. And even if sometimes they lack a clear image of “what’s next,” they are very sure that they’re not done yet. As one woman said to me recently, “I realized that I’m barely over halfway through my life since I expect to live to 100!”
Now, you may not expect to live to 100 or even want to, although it is within the realm of possibility. What’s important is to make a clear decision about what you intend for the next phase of your life and not let others talk you out of it. My hunch is that the kids who kept running as hard as they could, and the little girl who did not give up trying to turn a good cartwheel, felt better about themselves than those who decided it was just too hard, that they weren’t going to win, that they were done for anyway. Commit to learning that cartwheel, and keep going all out for what you want. This is what we stand for in Prime Spark.
The Prime Spark Membership Community is designed for women 55 (or close) and older to support one another, learn and grow together, and further the mission of Prime Spark. Membership is currently closed. If you’re interested in joining, please send an email to [email protected] and ask to be placed on the waitlist.
Sara Hart, PhD, is an author, speaker, and coach. She is leading the charge to change how older women are seen and treated in our society. She is the creator of Prime Spark, a movement to transform how women over 55 take responsibility for their futures. Sara is the author of three books. She also has over forty years’ experience in leadership development, coaching, and building thinking environments. She was director of training and development for a Fortune 100 company. Sara was also an executive director of the Institute for Women and Technology. To learn more about claiming your power as a senior woman, visit Prime Spark today!
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