When are you too old to 'go back' to school?
The words of the title were spoken to me, directly. As the 50-something speaker demonstrated with his pithy observation, there are plenty of people who feel that way. They can't imagine "starting over" because the cultural paradigm has created a "right" time and a "wrong" time to do those things. In your 50's you're supposed to be on auto-pilot, reaping the rewards of the education and career-building years of your 20's, 30's and 40's.
The only problem is, that's utter nonsense. Like most paradigms, "middle age" emerged as a functional response to life expectancy and economic opportunities of previous generations. It fails to account for the longer childhoods, more years of work, vanishing pensions, and dramatic shifts in technology. We simply live longer than we did when 50 was approaching "retirement age." Often, middle age is viewed as being at the "serious" time of our lives, just when we need to be "unserious" and shake it up a little bit!
Life-long learning should be a goal, not just viewed as a solution to a problem. If we integrate learning and gaining knowledge, deliberately and with forethought, throughout our lives, we will be better able to meet the changes and challenges as they come.