I don't remember exactly when it happened, but sometime around the age of 29-30, I started noticing more and more people around me blaming their poor performance, injuries, and lack of motivation on their age.
Given the actual age of people I hang around with, it is increasingly common to hear things like "my body doesn't respond like it used to" or "it takes me twice as long to recover as it used to in my twenties."
While all that may be true - I truly believe that you only really get old when you start using age as an excuse.
I turned 40 this year - but I don't consider myself old and I can certainly still out perform people half my age in the gym or ring.
I'm not delusional. I know that at some point my body is going to deteriorate to the point where I'm not going to be able to box (or probably even walk or wipe my own ass for that matter) - but I'll be damned if I'm going to let that happen before it actually happens.
"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. " ~Samuel Ullman
Age just gives us another excuse to latch onto when things get hard. In reality - nine times out of 10 - it's just our minds telling us it's ok not to train or it's ok to start taking it easy.
Well - it's not.
When I hear someone younger or older than me in the gym complaining that age is taking its toll - I wonder what it took for that person to give up and convince himself or herself that they were getting old? Worse yet - did they take someone else's word for it.?
I'll share a secret - just because someone thinks your chronological age is old, doesn't mean it's true. It only becomes true when you believe it to be true.
While the years will continue to pass by - it's up to you, and only you, to decide how old you are. The sooner you take that to heart, the sooner you can start living a fulfilling life at any age.
"Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children."
~George Bernard Shaw
Do you remember that feeling of invincibility you had as a kid? That I can do anything attitude?
Do you remember the day that you let that go?
Don't you think it's about time to take it back?
"40 is not a death sentence." ~George Foreman
George Foreman stopped boxing for 10 years and came back to win a heavyweight title at the age of 45. Do you think he considered himself too old?
Evander Holyfield retired and then started boxing again well into his 40s and only recently retired again at the age of 50. I wonder if he considered himself too old to challenge younger opponents?
Bernard Hopkins just defended his titles at age 49 against a much younger Sergei Kovalev. He lost - but he isn't done boxing - and he certainly did not embarrass himself because of his age.
Surely everyone knows you can't start boxing when you're 60 or 70. That's just absurd.
But why not?
There is a 72 year old man using Commando Boxing and he's loving it.
A 60 or 70 year old with 2 fists and legs has the same tools as the 20 year old.
Sure, there are a differences in recovery times, reaction times, and how skilled you can realistically become but is there some reason a 60 or 70 year old can't hit a heavy bag?
Do the heavy bag police show up and arrest the "old boxer" who does hit a heavy bag?
I guarantee they do not and people like 52 year-old Gerhard know that learning to box at any age is possible.
"Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. " ~Author Unknown
Yes, we all age. It's inevitable, and eventually we do get old according to someone's definition of old including our own. Muscles shrivel up, organs deteriorate, and we die.
But from where I stand, the problem isn't that we're all going to grow old and die, it's that some people decide to grow old and die before their body actually grows old and dies.
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty."
There is no rule book for life that says you can't do something because you are 30, 40, or 50? Nobody can stop you if you want to learn how to box at any age.
I beg you not to let age be a limiting factor. It is simply a factor and if you have the desire and belief in yourself to try something new, then do it.
Stop listening to what other people are saying because if you do, you might start believing them. Instead, live your life and build your own reality out of your own thoughts and beliefs about how your world should be at any age.
Make a plan for your life or someone else will.