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May 30, 2016
by Henry M. Pittman, MA

Never Give Up, It's Never Too Late - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

May 30, 2016 21:20 by Henry M. Pittman, MA  [About the Author]

"Age ain't nothing more than a number," is a quote that has been used for years. There have been songs written about two people who love each other and who are at different stages in their life, yet they love each other. Late R& B singer, Aaliyah in 1994 had a record called, “Age  Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” that was written by R. Kelly. In 1994 Anna Nicole Smith, age 26 at the time, married J. Marshall Howard who was 89 years old. In May 2012, Tao Porchon-Lynch (Wikipedia) become the Guinness World Record holder as the oldest yoga teacher at 93. Once again, age ain’t nothing more than a number as it is with recent graduate of USC, Alfonzo Gonzales at age 96.


Alfonzo Gonzales (Associated Press, 2016) served his country in War World II. After the war, Alfonzo Gonzales attended the University of Southern California to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. In 1953 Alfonzo Gonzales decided to skip his graduation commencement and begin developing his own business. For 55 years Alfonzo Gonzales ran a soil company.

Gonzales’ family recently contacted the University of Southern California to obtain a copy and to their surprise and Alfonzo Gonzales, he never graduated. The university informed them that Alfonzo Gonzales was one credit short. The University of Southern California no longer hold a Zoology degree and therefore no curriculum was present for the one credit. Instead, the university allowed Alfonzo Gonzales to take an independent course that could be used as the one credit he needed. In May 2016 Alfonzo Gonzales became the oldest graduate to receive a bachelor’s degree (zoology) from the University of Southern California.

At the Starting Line

Ladies and gentlemen, here they come. They both line up on the starting line. Both are looking exceptionally fit. This could be a close race. Now they both are getting into their stance as if they are prepared to take off. A whistle is blown. They take their stance. The sound of the gun goes off and off they go. Both runners who are running in the game of life. Which one will win? Which one will cross the finish line first or would this obstacle of life become too much for either one of them? Both runners have the finish line in mind. However, the two runners are going to get there at two different times because one is sprinter and the other is a long distant runner.


Sprinters are the type of runners that get things done very quickly. The sprinter, pretty much, has a plan of what he or she is going to do with their life. When they graduated from high school, they knew where they were headed. Some knew they were going to college, obtain a degree, and work in a specific field. They have had that image of that finish line in their mind for years. Others knew after high school that they were going to go to the military and either make it a career or use it as a platform what they wanted to do but couldn’t obtain straight out of high school. Then you had those who were not going to the military or college, they went straight into the workforce, sort out things along the way, developed a family, and they end up at the finish line. While sprinters are determine and can fast track that doesn’t mean that there is not room of the long distance runner at the end of the celebration lane.

Long Distance Runners

Long Distance Runners are those runners that are truly opposite of the sprint runner. They do not have things figured out. They may have an idea, however no true plan is laid out. The long distant runner may go a certain path because it seemed “alright” or it seemed as the “right thing to do.” And in hence sight it was not “alright” and it was “not the right thing to do.” As a result, the long distance runner may have gotten off course and it took him or her a while to get back on track.  Nevertheless, they got back on track and finished.


The purpose of this article is about continuing to inspire oneself to fulfil their dreams. There is only one life to live regardless of theories of an “afterlife” or “next life”, there is only “one this life.” Things may have not gone as planned. That doesn’t mean or give one the right to quit. It means that one has to get back up and go a different route or continue the same route because one may stopped due to exhaustion. Anthony Brutto (Waxman, 2015) was enrolled in West Virginia University when he was drafted for WII in 1939. Upon his return after the war dealing with all the surprises that life has to offer, he continued to chip away at obtaining his degree which he did obtain over 75 years later in 2015. It’s your life, satisfy it.


Associate Press (2016, May 14). 96-year-old man becomes oldest USC graduate. Retrieved from

Tao Porchon Lynch (n.d.). In Wikipedia, Retrieved on May 31, 2016 from

Waxman, O.B. (2016). 94-Year-Old Man Finally Graduates From College, More Than 75 Years After He Started. Retrieved from

About the Author

Henry M. Pittman Henry M. Pittman, MA

Henry M. Pittman came into the field of counseling through substance use disorders in the fall of 1997. He was a substance abuse tech at a hospital in Houston, TX and what he saw motivated him to take all the counseling hours needed to become a substance abuse counselor in 1998. Since then he has pursed the required education and knowledge to become a master level counselor and therapist.

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