Twenty One…and Older. MUCH Older

When I Was One-and-Twenty

By A. E. Housman

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

I was managing a stable when I was twenty one. I cleaned stalls, groomed horses, helped prepare horses for training or lessons. When you’re the only person who sticks it out, you become by attrition the manager, it’s not always about being the most qualified.

One of the students was the son of a veterinarian who admired something about the way I did my work. He tried to encourage me to go to vet school, and be more than a stall cleaner.

“But…but…I’m over twenty. By the time I finish vet school, I’ll be thirty or more.”

And he pointed out, not so gently: “By that time you’ll be thirty or more whether you go to vet school or not.”



Yeah, he was right.

I didn’t go to vet school. For one thing it wasn’t exactly my path especially since I am so not a people person. Plus my journey led to a different destination…though I was not sure at that time what that destination might be. However, I took that wisdom with me wherever I did go.

You say you can’t write a book since it’s going to take six to nine months and you just don’t have that time? Or maybe you can’t write a series since OMG it will be several years and you’ll be so old?

Well, MONA, you’ll be that old anyway.

So pull up your BIG girl panties (the purple ones with lace) and DO IT.

Don’t come to the end of days with a bucket load of “wish I hads”


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4 responses to “Twenty One…and Older. MUCH Older

  1. nydia

    Loved this post, Mona! Funny, I learned about a quick read today (maybe I’m the last one to hear about it lol) called Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield. It’s reviewed as a great kick-in-the-pants for just doing it – especially writing. I’ve got it on my to-read list now.


  2. Not everyone is granted the privilege of growing old


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