Aren’t You Too Old For That? (Pt. 2)

3 min read

a sign that says youth has no age
a sign that says youth has no age

It’s too late . . . or, is it?

I've been blessed to work with many clients in their 40's, 50's and 60's, and one of the constant struggles they face–and questions they ask–is: “Am I too old for this?”

My response is always the same, “Age doesn't matter, unless you are cheese!”

And it's really true.

I've met 30-year-olds who feel defeated, lost, and bitter and 70-year-olds with the enthusiasm, joy, and lightness of a child who's just discovered a new toy.

It's all about the perspective and attitude.

I told you before about my, now 99-year-old, friend and her view on getting old: “Age only matters if it matters to you.

Does it?

The question, “Am I too old for this?” seems to become particularly relevant in career considerations.

People (and you may be one of them, and that's ok) wonder whether it's too late for them to make a pivot, start a business, change the direction entirely after many years on one trajectory, go back to school, and so on.

These are natural, pragmatic considerations. And they can be useful as long as they don't turn into fear and promptly extinguish the fire within.

As long as we have breath within us, it's never to late to be what we may have been.

There are some famous, fabulous examples of people who found new directions and unlikely successes later in life:

  • Vera Wong is one of the most renowned fashion designers, but didn’t even enter the industry until she was 40 years old.

  • Martha Stewart didn’t start her cooking and homemaking empire until she started a catering business … in her 40s.

  • Susan Boyle was 48 when she was discovered for her amazing singing voice on “Britain’s Got Talent”.

  • Stan Lee, the creator of the world-famous Marvel Universe, didn’t write his first hit comic until he was nearly 40.

  • Julia Child worked in Secret Intelligence in WWII and didn’t begin her cooking career until she was in her 50s.

  • Raymond Chandler didn’t start writing until age 44, when he lost his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression.

  • Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, didn’t start Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62.

  • Laura Ingalis Wilder published the first Little House on the Prairie book at age 65 based on her life experiences.

  • Kathryn Joosten moved to Hollywood and lived with her son to pursue an acting career at 56.

  • Rodney Dangerfield was an aluminum siding salesman before making a hit appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show at 46.

  • Ray Kroc sold paper cups and milkshake mixers before building McDonald’s age 52.

  • Peter Mark Roget wrote lists obsessively as a coping mechanism for lifelong depression. He wrote Roget’s Thesaurus when he was 73.

We don't need to become household names to chase our dreams, however big or small they may seem.

I had a client who went back to college in her late 60's. When she was going to school, girls weren't allowed to study her chosen subject, so she studied something else and waited for her moment.

Another client, had just turned 60, when she decided it was time to end a loveless, boring marriage and focus on turning her passion into a business venture.

I have another client, now in her late 60's, who lost everything in the 2008 crash, only to rebuild herself. In her mid-60s, she also got divorced, moved to another country, and is currently building another business.

And another one who accumulated great wealth by working crazy hours. Now, he wants to heal, process old wounds, and also give all his wealth away, but in a way that no one ever knows or hears of his good deeds.

Human paths and stories are fascinating, and you have your own, that is still being written. Don't let your age get in the way of living your best life and chasing those dreams and passions.

Make sure you don't die with music still in you.