At Whatever Age

You future depends on many things, but mostly on you. –Frank Tyger

UnknownDo you perhaps feel like you are too old to pursue your dreams, and that ship has sailed? Would you consider, say, going back to school as an adult to gain additional skills and knowledge?

Kimani Maruge, at the age of 84 years, did not give a second thought to enrolling in Standard One in 2003. The former Freedom Fighter had never been to school, but he dreamed of becoming a doctor some day. More immediately, he dreamed of learning how to read the Bible for himself. He knew what he had to do to achieve his dreams, so when universal free primary education was made available, he jumped at the opportunity. He attended the same school as two of his grandchildren, who were in upper primary classes. In less than two years, his tenacity was paying off. He was among the top five in his class and the school head prefect.

In September 2005, he boarded a plane for the first time in his life and traveled to New York to address the UN Development Summit on the importance of free primary education. Sadly, Kimani died in August 2009 after a battle with cancer. He had however achieved his dream of learning how to read and write, earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, attained celebrity status, and inspired millions of people around the world.

Kimani recognized that he could not go back and make a brand new start, but he could start from where he was––as an octogenarian––and make a brand new ending. And his story did end on an extremely high note.

You cannot change your past, but you can change your tomorrow by your actions today. Age need not be an obstacle to your progress. You can choose to take the steps necessary for you to achieve your dreams of the future. If you have a dream worth chasing, then seize the small opportunities that have been sent your way and start the pursuit now. Winning starts with beginning… at whatever age.

Adapted from the book Champion by David Waweru. Article originally published at