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Nov 01 2018
Taking Charge
D'Ann Johnson, CCE, A-Core Concrete Cutting

Last winter, I had an unfortunate incident involving a short flight of stairs and a knee that decided it was going to bend in a way that knees aren't meant to bend. This led me to seek help from an emergency physician (fresh faced, with the ink still drying on his diploma, I'm sure) who said that when people get to be of a "certain age" things tend to start wearing out. His words took me off guard and, truth be told, stung.

After resisting the urge to ground him to his room without internet privileges, I sulked as they put my leg in a brace, handed me crutches and the number for an orthopedic specialist, but my bruised ego wouldn't let go of his words - I couldn't get them out of my head. For weeks, even after my knee healed and the brace and crutches were discarded, I still carried the injury from his words.

Now, I'm sure it wasn't his intent for me to take his words in the way that I did - he was just merely stating the facts as he saw them - and maybe that was the part that hurt the most. He had stated, out loud, something that I wasn't emotionally ready to hear - the reality that I'm closer to 60 than 16.

But then something truly amazing happened! As I continued to mull over his words, one of my many "inner voices" piped up and said, "Aging is a gift denied to many. Be grateful for the gift and enjoy it!" I decided that the number of candles on a birthday cake doesn't define who I am as a person - I do.

Yes, I am closer to 60 than 16, but in the last 10 years I've achieved my CCE, earned my bachelor's degree and my MBA. I have written and read articles, given and attended seminars, hosted and sat in on webinars that have given me opportunities to continue to learn and grow. I've sat and continue to sit on boards, committees and volunteer to be part of events that have benefited me more than I could ever imagine.

On a personal level, I've challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone - to not be content with sitting on the sidelines and watching as others create and achieve the things I've always wanted. I've recently taken up kickboxing, which is challenging me not only physically but mentally as well! Working through the combinations is akin to a masterfully choreographed dance - left, right, kick, punch, duck - I feel new synapses forming with each lesson/workout. But I'm not stopping there! While I could have been content to spend the remainder of my working years with my former company, I've accepted a position with another company that will allow me the opportunity to use my current skills while gaining new and exciting skills and experiences.

The point to this is this: you are more than a birth date listed on a birth certificate or a driver's license. You are an important person in this life - your life - and you write the story! You are never "too old" to teach, mentor or guide. You are never "too old" to learn, grow, stretch or try something new - something that makes your heart sing, makes you giddy with anticipation, speaks to your whole being in a way that you're excited to step up to the next opportunity. I urge you to take ownership and be an active participant in life - your life - because, let's face it, in reality we're all of a "certain age"!