You’re never too old to set another goal, and it’s never too late to chase another dream. So, don’t use age as an excuse to avoid going after what you really want out of life. Let’s discuss!
It’s never too late to make your dreams come true
The other day, I was out to lunch with girlfriends, and we were all talking about our teenage dreams versus our current reality. We were discussing all of the things our late-1900s selves thought we’d be doing right about now. The places we thought we’d go, the goals we thought we’d achieve, and so on.
One friend said that her teen self would be disappointed to know that she never wrote a single novel, let alone a best-selling one. Another friend got a far-away nostalgic look on her face and said, “Teenage me would be so upset to know that we never got around to backpacking through Europe.” A third one replied, “My graduating self would be livid to find out that we never even moved out of the town we were born in.”
It went on and on, all around the table, with everyone talking about how depressing it was that they never achieved their youthful goals or made their childhood dreams come true. Finally, my quiet friend in the corner said something that we all needed to hear.
“Last I checked none of you are dead,” she said. We just looked at her like, “Huh? What does that have to do with anything?” She went on, “As long as you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to make your dreams come true.”
As long as you’re breathing, you have time to do what you want
It sounds a bit trite, like something you’d see a cute cat saying on a motivational poster, but that doesn’t make it any less true. In fact, not only is it never too late, but if you think about it, you actually have a much BETTER chance of making your dreams come true now that you’re older.
You’re no longer a wide-eyed child just trying to figure out how to navigate the incredibly complex landscape of adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying life is easy or that we’ve got everything figured out. But I do think we’ve learned valuable lessons throughout the years, and we can use them to our advantage now.
We know how to prioritize better. We have stronger support systems in place. We’re better at asking for help when we need it because we don’t feel like we have to prove anything to anyone anymore. We’re past feeling like we need to explain ourselves or justify what makes us happy. Most of all, we’re far wiser than we were back then.
The older we get, the more we know what we actually WANT out of life
Most importantly, though, all of those years gave us a chance to figure out what we REALLY want most out of life.” Did you know that at least 26-50% (and some studies say as many as 80%)) of college students change their majors at least once? Also, on average, most people work 12 different jobs in their lifetime, and more than half of those are during their young adult years (18-24).
Honestly, I think it’s absurd to expect someone to know exactly how they want to spend the next 50+ years when they can’t even legally decide whether they prefer red or white wine. It’s very rare to know what you want to do with the rest of your life when you’re barely old enough to vote.
By this point in our lives, though, we’ve pretty much already been through the A to Z’s of “I wanna bes.” I’m not saying we have it ALL figured out. I don’t think anyone really does, no matter how old they get. But I think we’ve at least narrowed the field down a bit and can more easily focus on our true goal. I think we also at least have a better idea of what we don’t want to do with our lives. That’s where the quote above makes so much sense. It’s never too late to give up what you’re doing and start doing what you realize you love instead.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s easier to accomplish your goals when you’re older. But I don’t think it’s harder, either. Chasing our dreams comes with challenges no matter how old or young we are. They wouldn’t call it “chasing dreams” if it was easy. They’d call it “catching dreams” or something like that. I just think that we have more tools than our younger counterparts. I also think that if you decide to chase a dream after 50, it’s because it’s truly a dream and not just something you think you should be doing.
If you’re still finding yourself thinking that you’re just too old to do what you want to do, I have one more thing that may convince you. Let’s look at some people who found success or realized their dream after their 50th birthday.
People Who Found Success Later in Life
These people prove that it’s NEVER too late to make your dreams come true:
- Julia Child was 50 when her famous show launched on PBS.
- Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- Peter Roget became his own synonym for success when he published the very first thesaurus at age 73.
- Speaking of words, Noah Webster didn’t publish his first dictionary until he was 70.
- Grandma Moses didn’t finish her first painting until she was 76.
- Glady Burril ran a marathon at age 92, earning her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records record as the oldest female to ever do so.
- Teiichi Igarashi climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan when he was 100.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t become the famous author of the Little House on the Prairie series until she was 65.
- Betty White’s big break came when she was 51 (thanks to the Mary Tyler Moore Show). Although she acted long before that she wasn’t very well-known.
That’s just the people that we know about. People who followed a dream that made them famous enough for others to talk about, basically. There are countless “ordinary” people (I think everyone is extraordinary in some way, though) who made their dreams come true later in life, too. One friend went to college with a 70-year-old grandma who was chasing her dream of getting a degree. Like most parents of her generation, she sacrificed that dream for her family when she was younger.
Another friend’s older mom became a book editor and designs covers after a lifetime of working as an administrative assistant. She dedicates her time to working with older authors. One is a 91-year-old writer who penned his first novel at age 85. All over the world, people are realizing that as long as you’re still here, still drawing breath, it’s NEVER TOO LATE to be who you want to be. You’re never too old to change your life and realize your dreams.
It’s time you realize that, too. If you’re using your age as a reason to stop dreaming, to stop setting new goals and realizing new potentials…well, that’s not a reason; it’s an excuse. I’ll leave you with one last quote, by Freeman Dyson: “So long as you have courage and a sense of humor, it is never too late to start life afresh.” The hardest part is finding the courage. Once you do that, nothing can stop you. Not even age.