Have you ever asked someone how old they are and it actually takes them a minute to answer you? As if they truly forgot… I believe it’s moments like these that produce a subtle fear of age in young people.

If you know me well, you know I love to dream. I love to launch businesses and movements and ideas. In my opinion, it’s dreaming which makes life so vibrant.

As we grow old, many forget this important art. We become stuck in routines, responsibilities, and predictabilities. We feel irrelevant and lack the energy to pursue ideas like we used to.

But let’s remember this, even though you hear about hundreds of twenty-somethings launching companies and careers from Facebook to new tech devices, their smarts are only as strong as their wisdom.

Which leads me to my point. Age has something that youthfulness will never have. Experience, discernment, patience, and perspective. And even though I have already posted this video a few months ago, I believe the older generations might need to hear again.

When it comes to chasing a dream or starting a company, what a person might lack in youthful energy comes back multiplied in wisdom.

As you may have expected, dreaming has no age limit. It’s the fuel for life. I don’t care if you’re 55, 43, or 86… go start something new, take an adventure with your spouse, and shake the very foundations of our culture. We need it.

Do you still dream? Do your parents still dream? What do you think is stopping people? Let me know in the comments below.

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50 thoughts on “How Old Is Too Old To Chase A Dream?

  1. Maurice Daniel says:

    Fear. We’re all self-conscious and very aware of how people may perceive us. It can stop most of us dead in our tracks. Almost like a prison of opinion. Just my take on it

  2. Margaret Westendorp-Wissink says:

    Even when you’ve done all the things from your bucketlist, you’re not to old to dream and make your wishes come true. It keeps you alive and kicking! And when you think you don’t have anything to live for anymore, you can always help others to fulfill their dreams; that’s even more satisfying!!

  3. Kara says:

    I had to laugh at this post because I’m 49, and I’m one of the people who has to think about how old I am when someone asks. But i think that you’re looking at it in the wrong way. I don’t know anyone who’s older than 50 or 60 who thinks that they can’t do new things because of their age. I think that younger people DO believe that when you get older you “give up” and just don’t try new things, but that’s soooo wrong. The reason we have to think about our age is that IT DOESN’T MATTER. You get to a point where you realize that the anxieties of youth are a load of self-imposed angst. Getting older gives you a perspective that you CAN’T have when you’re younger because experience is the only way to get it. I would suggest that the video that you say that older people should watch is something that younger people should watch, since most older people know that you’re not dead until you’re dead! My inlaws were in a nursing home and they referred to the 96-yr-old as the “old timer.” This was when they were both in their early ’90’s, so it’s all relative!

  4. Ed Bonchak says:

    At 59 I find what I do now less stressful and more enjoyable. I no longer have to look over my shoulder for approval or at my paycheck to gain self-esteem. Encouraging others, leading by example and being a good listener are just a few ways that allow me to follow my dreams and help someone else obtain theirs. The journey continues!

  5. Debora says:

    Kara’s comments are so spot on. I just turned 50. You do tend to remember those big zero years but 50 is so different from 30 or 40. Then, I had the angst of growing older. Now, I try to embrace each day as though it will be the best day I have ever had in my life. Even with routines and responsibilities, there is plenty of room for dreaming, adventure, and growth. For me, 50 is the new 20, only a whole lot better.

  6. Jennifer says:

    With younger sisters in their 20’s still, I sometimes feel that I should have accomplished so much more by now! I’m 30 and am more focused than ever on changing some bad habits and moving forward with some new ideas. I’m oftentimes concerned about taking those business risks that could impact my family greatly if I don’t judge it correctly. I want to be such a good example that I’m afraid of making mistakes and sometimes that means I’m afraid of moving forward or out of the norm…

    • Dale Partridge says:

      This is all of us. But you have to remember.. you are human, and you are going to make mistakes. That may sound cliché, but once you accept that, you will give yourself a little bit of grace. Life is all about taking those risks, and learning from them if they turn out different than we had planned. All you can do is your best. 🙂

  7. brenda scott says:

    This video was great…& just what I needed to see this morning!! I am 59 & beginning again a new stage in life. Though I feel 30 inside, I do find it hard to just jump into a new business like I did years ago. Often the thought drops into my head …but you will be *60*!…..who will take you seriously in a world where so many parenting blogs are by 20 &30 somethings? I know in my head, but my heart fears. I know, I am my worst enemy! Thanks Dale for this fabulous blog! It is a huge blessing as Im moving into God’s next plan for my life!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Listen, Brenda. God has given you and a purpose and as long as you have breathe, you still have purpose. You have a perspective on life that is unique – no one has lived your life. God has granted you wisdom through the years, and there are other women – other people – out there who need to hear your story. 🙂 You are never too old. Get out of your own way 😉

  8. Mark Lamprecht says:

    I agree, chasing a dream has no age limit. We only live once and often live with regrets once we are older for not attempting our dreams when younger. I think past regrets do keep people from trying. If they could not chase their dream when they were young, what motivates them when they are older and time is running out?

    Problem is, time is always running out no matter your age. No one knows if they will live to see tomorrow, so start today! Why live another day with regret that holds you back? I am a 43 yr. old seminary student who has about a year left. There are things I want to do and I am pushing ahead. You are never too old!

  9. Ulla Schindler says:

    It’s not the age that holds me back (I’m 38) but more so the life that’s already built up around me and the financial commitments. I would have no problem dropping my current job and wing it for a year to pursue a dream, but we have a mortgage to pay (selling the house is not an option at this point), childcare costs for 2 little ones, and of course groceries, bills, etc. My husband has an even bigger security issue – he’s a bigger worrier than me. I can’t make myself deplete my life savings to take a year or so to work on the dream. What do you suggest for someone that’s afraid to jump and pull 3 other family members with her?
    I did start going back to school a few months ago for what I want to do. I have 2 more years to go but I don’t know how much longer I can make my regular full time job work, along with family, kids, studying, etc.

    • Sarah says:

      I would have to agree with you on this one…. It seems like of it were just me it would be so much easier to dream and take those risks because it only affects ourselves. But like you said, with families and financial responsibilities, and less and less time for ourselves it’s seems impossible.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Most people cannot afford to jump completely from one world into the next, so you’ll have to determine baby steps to get you going in the right direction. Even if you just start to read, or start to blog.. or whatever it is that’s going to get you going down that new path.

      • Jeff Stormer says:

        “Even if you **just** read…”
        that hits the nail on the head…from a couple of directions.
        I’m “just” reading/blogging/fill in the blank–we tend to minimize those little steps.

        It is written “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”
        After all, the Great Ziggurats of Ur (Babylonian) several millenia ago were essentially pyramids made of bricks (as opposed to the massive stones of the Egyptian pyramids.

        just thinking out loud…

        • Dale Partridge says:

          🙂 absolutely. The first step is always the biggest… and it really is all the little steps that take us where we need to go.

  10. Helen says:

    Dreaming is an art. I’m 40 and have been forced to start over again in pretty much all areas of my life: personal, professional, emotional, psychological…I’m taking all of my years of experience, mixed with the wisdom I’ve gained from my recent problems and am dreaming again. [I have to dream because, without the dream to hang our future on (I have two little children), all would be lost. It’s the dream that keeps me going. Backed with confidence that I can, and will, do this]. [Thanks for your post – there’s something so spot on about all of your posts but I especially needed to read this one today].

  11. Lyssa_Nae says:

    Absolutely love this! I believe that some people don’t dream because they’ve never felt empowered to dream or even told that they could!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Absolutely! That’s why its so important to speak life into our spouses, our kids, and all people around us. One encouraging word could change the course of someone’s life, and therefore… history. You just never know 🙂

  12. balemos says:

    Thank you for this! I remember, being 23 and saying…it I don’t make it by 25 im finished. hahaha. Even now at 31, the fear is smaller, but its fading. Taking steps, putting the work in, is each individual’s responsibility. And no one is responsible for my situation but me. Its never too late. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Haha I have totally been there. And as crazy as it sounds, I’m still nowhere near where I want to be… We have to find contentment exactly where we are, because we are where we are for a very specific reason. All you can do is your best. And don’t let comparison lie to you about being behind. We all have our own pace!

  13. Allison says:

    I agree with Kara on this one too. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming but it depends on how you chase that dream. I am 30 and I am dating a man who is 52. He is a dreamer an I encourage him to dream big but sometimes I notice that he becomes so consumed in his dreams that he forgets about the really important things (like just enjoying life). He also is so consumed with the thought of fame and money and to Kara’s point…when does it end? I don’t know about you all but I’m 30 and I, like my boyfriend, am constantly chasing and I have to honestly say its no fun. Sometimes I just want to throw the towel in because I realize that I’ve put so much on this dream that I can’t even see what’s really important like family and life. I think we have the dream of success because we fear dying. We all feel that we need to have purpose in life…but really are only purpose is to be alive and survive.

    Just my opinion. Still love the posts…keep up the good work!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      I have to disagree with you on this one. I do not believe our sole purpose is to just “get by” until we croak. I believe that even if your dream isn’t to become president, or to build wells in Africa, or to start a business…. that you still have a purpose. Maybe your purpose is to be a mother, or to be a wife, or to be a good friend. Life is hard and we are here to love and serve each other – to experience joy and pain so we learn compassion. I think too many people think they’re only here for survival and this is when complacency sets in and dreams die. Is there a time to move on from a dream you sought out that didn’t work the way you planned? Sure. That’s up to you to have discernment. But I believe with my whole heart that we have a way bigger purpose than just getting by. Really do appreciate hearing your perspective though! 🙂

  14. Steve Scott says:

    Often times the age limit misperception lies with someone younger rather than with the older person themselves. We face an uphill battle for many of the reason listed in the comments.

    Families to care for
    Monthly financial obligations
    $6K monthly income versus $30K+ a month

    We all have to bloom where we’re planted and each of us must balance our dreams with the reality of our current situation.

    I’m 53 and I definitely still dream. Sadly both of my parents have passed. In fact, my mom just passed unexpectedly on the 19th, which makes me think to ask about your mom Dale, I hope she’s continuing to improve. There are definitely some things she can do to remove toxins and rebuild her immune system, liver and kidneys, although I know it is hard to go against conventional
    wisdom, it might be worth a look into Gerson Therapy. I’m happy to share if you would like more information.

    I think one of the things that stops many people from dreaming is society’s preconceived notion that if you haven’t made it by a certain age then you must not have any good ideas. Investors don’t look at older dreamers and perceive them in the same way as younger dreamers. You wrote recently something about older folks giving advice when they themselves haven’t accomplished the goals they are offering advice on. That same mentality is engrained in people at an early age. If you’re not rich by 50 then why should I believe you have any ideas that will make you rich by 55? Sometimes great coaches can coach but not actually play the game themselves, especially when the game has radically changed. The physical and mental energy level of many older dreamers is greater than people half their age. I have in fact often thought what someone needs to do is tap into the brain trust that is the “older dreamers,” specifically because of their experience and wisdom.

    I’ve heard it said that the younger you are the greater risks you can take – throwing caution to the wind because if you fail you have more time to rebuild and recover. There is some truth and wisdom in that thought. I lost $4mm (paper value) in the internet bust of 2000. That will change a persons’ willingness and ability to take risks.

    I was looked at as a job hopper for only staying with a company 3-5 years before needing to go out on my own or join a company that provided a better challenge. This was once considered taboo, now it is the norm.

    I am still as excited today as I was at a younger age. I have more money and no debt other than my mortgage. But I admit I still find myself afraid, I think it is inherent when you take risks. I’m afraid of running out of time without enough resources to last the remainder of my life. But I live for today and focus on what I can do now, in this moment and I believe the rest will take care of itself.

    What a difference a day can make – right?

    All many of us need is to be given a chance.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Wow yes! What a difference a day can make, for sure. I also love your perspective of blooming right where we are planted. Chasing dreams is important (at any age) but understanding we go through life seasons and learning how to BE where we are is crucial. Well said, Steve.

  15. mcharles29 says:

    The thing that pops in my head when I think of why people just stop dreaming, is two things fear and disappointment. And I’m speaking from experience, having my own dreams and somehow things just seem to get in the way. The bad economy, and simply my own fears of failing sometimes hold me back. It’s hard to take the next step, when life pulls you down. Sometimes you need an inspiration or person that puts you back on track, for me it’s my daughter. I look at her and I realize what the fight is for, and maybe someday I’ll be an inspiration for her.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      I totally know what you mean! The birth of my daughter changed my life in more ways than one, and one of them was a renewed sense of purpose. Life became a different color, much more vibrant – filled with even greater meaning. Hold onto those feelings when you look at yours – they are life changing feelings!

  16. Sjors Plompen says:

    I so agree with the idea that dreams are the engine of acting. Simply put: If there’s nothing you want to do, than you’ll do nothing. I believe it works the other way around as well; if you want to do something, the step to doing something is much smaller. I believe the idea of dreaming is underestimated, meaning that dreams are often defined as imaginary and unreachable (or unreasonable) goals. This is not what dreams are, in my opinion (maybe excluding the actual dreams we have while we sleep). Maybe desires is a better word.

    I’m a soon to be 21-year old who’s decided to go on a 6-months trip to New-Zealand and the states, fueled by my desire to see what’s out there. I desire to taste as much ways of life as possible, learn about other people’s philosophies and experiences. I must add that some of your posts help me to keep myself motivated and believing in the fact that I CAN do what I desire. It is in this period of my life that I want to apply the experience I have and the energy of my youth to test myself.

    • Matthijs W says:

      Insightful response, I agree on the fact there is a difference between dreams and desires. Dreaming would suggest it is unreachable while a desire to want something will motivate you to go and get it! Or, in your case, do it!

      Also, I think experience has a lot of influence on what steps people make. If you desire something but failed to get (or do) this in a previous attempt, it might not be as tempting to try it again. That is why I think the older people will get the less likely they will be to start or try something new. The experiences in life might have changed their minds and make them more comfortable in the way they live now.

  17. MooMoo Math says:

    I’m blessed that my father is 82 and is able to work 5-6 days a week. He shares with me every week new ideas he has for his insurance agency. Chasing a dream keeps him young and I think healthy.

  18. Bill says:

    I am 59 years and I cannot imagine losing the capacity to dream and create. People who create new companies, inventions, nonprofit organizations, art, etc. are living life fully. Life just keeps passing by day after day and looking a tv or facebook is not going to feel fill it up very much. Our world is in serious trouble and we need people to get involved helping to save it. Today’s kids will have it really bad it we don’t.

  19. Roxanne Hembd says:

    I’m 32 and at a job I only kind of like. It’s in the field that I went to college for, and I am very grateful that I found this job, and that they hired me. But I can’t stop daydreaming about having my own business and I think about it every day, all the time. I’ve written a business plan, planned out all of the product and the location and every detail. I think the only thing stopping me is fear. Fear of failure, going broke, bankruptcy. Fear of not getting a loan, not knowing enough about business to make it work. I’m a designer not a business woman. What if I don’t make it? What if no one buys my product? How do people get past this fear and go for their dreams head first? I would love to quit my job and live the life of my dreams.

  20. Eddie de Jager says:

    I was never taught how to dream. My parents are not dreamers with all due respect. I guess I encountered my first thought of a dream when I saw my first theater production at age 9. Today it’s 20 years later and I am a few months away from the age of the man in the YouTube clip. I haven’t done anything that can be seen as significant. I have developed dreams in the mean time. My biggest block is this, since childhood I was made to think dreams are only for other people. I am not suppose to dream, it is unsafe and dangerous. It destroys the natural order of things. How can I go about accomplishing dreams? My manual is very limited. How can you make someone believe in their dreams and pursue it?

  21. Ed Campbell says:

    I just turned 50 – and have accomplishments already fulfilled that I dream about…looking forward, it is hard to find a NEW dream in a world so youth obsessed and digitally centric. I hate compouters…I hate social media and what it has done to our society…the world is a place I no longer recognize, and how do you dream in a place you don’t know anymore???

  22. Anna Tsatoke says:

    Looking at the posts…I am alittle late but, it’s never too late…I read this at a time that I needed it. Great video…by the way. I am a grand 60…soon to be 61 this October. I certainly do not think 60 is the new 40 or 50…it is 60. However, it seems at every stage of my life I am always taking inventory… For the most part, I experienced an unbelievable troubled youth… which led to a stormy young adult life. By the time I became even somewhat sane… I spent years wanting the approval of others, seeking their validation…always giving myself to their causes as if that would redeem me of all my mistakes. NO WAY…! I never got their approval …validation…or applaud … they seemed to smell my need and used it for all it was worth. I took a look back and saw if I had invested half into myself or what I invested into others…my life would be so different. So, recently…I said to myself….no more… no more expecting from others what I can give to myself. At 60… I am going to fall in love with me. I am going to invest in myself… take the steps to develop some things in myself. I always wanted to speak….so…I am going to join a Toastmasters club! Why should I rely on anyone to believe in my story or wait to be given permission to share it! I said… this is who I am right now, and I am going to do the actions that will allow me to be the best 60 I can be. I was never the atletic type, even as a child I flunked out in gym class…I could not do one chin up…was scared of a base ball and the one time I ran track when I saw another person pass me I stopped completely running. lol…so…I have never put into my body the pride or care that should have been taken…but this is where I am …and with acceptance of that past… and being alright with that neglect that I can’t undo…I am moving forward…to do what I can now!!! To start walking now… will I ever opt to get surgery NOPE!!! but, I just choose to look at what is real…and to change my life now…regardless of my age. Who knows…I might take on a new city… take some voice lessons…try out for a part in a local play… the point is I am ready to live… thanks again

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