…(Or A Bottle of Wine)


cheeseWhen I was little, I remember people saying, “Oh no, she can’t do it. She’s too old.”

Or, ‘Let’s ask somebody younger. She’ll have more energy.”

Fifteen years ago, when we were both 56, Karen Stone-McCown and I (yes, I got her permission to say that ) started Six Seconds, a global organization supporting people-performance and positive change that now operates in 10 major regions, and supports practitioners in over 75 countries.

Then three years ago, we started an independent K-8 school, Synapse, a school that fulfills our dream of combining leading-edge instruction (brain-based, project driven, and constructivist learning in school-wide themes) with social and emotional learning.

What is wrong with us? Don’t we know we are too old?

About three years ago, a friend gave me a little book. The title was Age Only Counts If You Are A Cheese.

I’ve taken that book to heart.

And I have a great role model to follow.

My mother who celebrated her 91st birthday this year doesn’t seem to know that she is too old to be alive. Ten years ago when she discovered she had macular degeneration, she had eyebrows tattooed on her face!


Because she knew that soon she would not be able to see to draw them correctly in place.  She plans ahead.

She is also not too old to make a fabulous chocolate cream pie, even though she is legally blind.

Did you know that men usually make their mark by 30, but women often make their mark after 60?

Edison, Monet, Shaw, Picasso, Schweitzer all were productive in their late 80’s and 90’s.

Here are some interesting factoids:

  • David Ray of Tennessee learned to read at 99.
  • Armand Hammer actively headed Occidental Petroleum at 91.
  • At the age of 92, Paul Spangler completed his 14th marathon.
  • Hulda Crooks climbed Mt. Whitney, age 91.
  • Martha Graham was still doing choreography in her nineties.

We are not too old to put emotional intelligence into our lives. We are not too old to start a new business. We are not too old to find new customers.

Age need not be a deterrent. In fact, it can create momentum.

I am more careful with how I use my minutes.

I find I am more careful with whom I spend my minutes.

Dylan Thomas once said, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

I, for one, do not intend to do so.



Anabel Jensen

President of Six Seconds and professor of education, Anabel Jensen, Ph.D., is a master teacher and a pioneer in emotional intelligence education. A two-time Federal Blue Ribbon winner for excellence in education, she was Executive Director of the Nueva School from 1983 to 1997 where she helped develop the Self-Science curriculum featured in Daniel Goleman’s 1995 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence.

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