To honor the start of the major league season, here’s a baseball story. Years ago in the mid-1980’s our family lived in Southern California where we liked to go to Angels baseball games. (These days they are the prestigious “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” but back then they were the plain old “California Angels.”)
One fine day at the ball park, I discovered a relatively inexpensive upper-deck section of seats right behind home plate (the players were tiny but the seats provided a great whole-field perspective.) My favorite section of seats extended all the way from the bottom to the very top of the upper deck. Oddly, the price for all seats in these sections was the same, high or low, so that if you arrived early and the Angels weren’t playing a popular team like the Yankees or Red Sox you could get a very good seat near the front.
One weekday night I took my young son Geoff to the game–I don’t remember who the Angels were playing. We bought tickets and discovered to my dismay that our seats were way up–perhaps 3 or 4 rows from the very top in section “C-1.” (I’ll call it that, at this point I don’t have the foggiest idea of how the sections actually were numbered.) Strangely, I observed that the adjacent section of seats “C-2” was almost totally empty.
Along about the second or third inning when it became apparent that no one was going to occupy the seats in section C-2, I said to my son, “Let’s move over to the next empty section and sit down close to the front.” (Remember, the price for these lower seats was the same as what we had paid.) We moved down and were enjoying the improved view (the players on the field grew to the size of nickels from the penny-size they were in our original seals) when out of the clear blue a grouchy old usher approached and asked to see our tickets. I showed them and commented that I assumed it was all right to move since no one was seated in section C-2 and the ticket price was the same.
Much to our chagrin, the usher responded that we would have to move back to our original seats in section C-1 because “the computer has blocked out section C-2 for this game.” For the life of me, I couldn’t see the point and asked to speak personally with the computer. Unfortunately the computer wasn’t available; he (or she) was probably at the concession stand. Geoff and I reluctantly returned to our nosebleed level seats in C-1 while the entire Section C-2 remained vacant throughout the game. I fully intended to call Angels owner Gene Autry, my boyhood hero, but about that time he sold the team to Mickey Mouse and I didn’t have Mickey’s cell phone number.
That grouchy old stadium usher was a lot like the grouchy small voice of caution and limitation lodged inside our wonderful middle-age minds. A wonderful plethora of untested but high-potential opportunities awaits us in the adjacent section C-2 but the gatekeeper of our mind often won’t let us out of the “box” of section C-1. We may be trapped in by fear of trying something new. This fear may have been implanted in our subconscious mind when we were a small child; we may not even know why we are locked in to our present, tired old way of thinking and “blocked out” of trying something new.
At middle age, are you stuck in a career, lifestyle or relationship that you don’t admire? If so, it’s high time you let go of limiting beliefs like the following:
- “Earning a living is a necessary evil. I’ll have to stick to the grindstone of my present job until I retire because there’s no way I could ever have a good time while on the job!”
- “My spouse and I have been married 27 years and have 4 kids. There is no way we can recapture the passion and romance we experienced when first married. At best, we are now just good friends.”
- “Now that all our children are teenagers, there is no way my spouse and I can have fun with them like we did when they were small kids. They won’t listen to our advice and guidance so we’ll just tolerate them until they grow up and move out on their own.”
Earlier in this article, I quoted the stadium usher as saying “the computer has blocked out this section of seats.” Actually, the computer itself didn’t block out anything; it was some human programmer who probably was instructed by his boss not to sell seats in section C-2 for this particular game. Our human minds are wonderful computers. If set free from self-imposed programming constraints, our minds are capable of carrying us to joy-filled accomplishments almost beyond imagination, but they won’t take us there if held back by archaic programming instructions. Are you limiting your marvelous twenty-first century brain by insisting on using an outdated 1970’s computer language like FORTRAN?
It’s time to retire that worn-down, out-of-step usher that is keeping you from the life of your dreams. Resolve right now to examine the recesses of your mind to determine what if anything has been holding you back. Spring time is an ideal time of year for new beginnings. Like your favorite baseball team your record is 0-0. Why not initiate a personal winning streak that will take you to a second-half pennant of personal joy and satisfaction?
Tune in to my weekly Internet radio program, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” on WebTalkRadio.net. Over the next several programs, my guests and I will seek to convince you that the only thing that may be holding you back from the joy-filled career and relationships you so deserve is you!