…or dream another dream. - C.S. Lewis
I just saw 89 year old Sylvia Weinstock, the renowned cake maven on tv, proudly saying to some bakers, “It’s never too late to start another career. I started my business at 50! “ (After surviving breast cancer I found out later.) AMAZING! That got me thinking about other wildly successful people who didn’t start the careers that made them famous until later in life. For example:
Julia Child did not set foot in a television studio until she was 51 years old. She didn’t even attend culinary school until the ripe old age of 38.
Laura Ingalls Wilder did not set pen to paper to write her internationally known and beloved Little House books until she was 62.
Ray Kroc started McDonalds at 52, John Pemberton invented Coca Cola somewhere around age 55, and Colonel Harland Sanders did not start officially franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62 years old.
Vera Wang did not start her astronomically successful wedding gown business until she was 40, Mary Kay Ash didn’t start Mary Kay Cosmetics until she was 45, Barbara Walters did not sit at a news anchor desk until she was 42, and treasured celebrity Betty White, despite having worked in entertainment since three months after high school, did not have significant fame or recognition until her featured role on The Mary Tyler Moore show starting at the age of 52.
While these people are all outliers, and had enormous amounts of good luck to accompany their hard work and talent, they can be inspirational to those of us who are in what used to be called “middle-age,” to counteract all of the images that we’re bombarded with that youth is to be coveted and that older people should just stay quiet and drift off into the sunset.
The fact is, most of the people who start businesses later in life are successful because they have had the life experience to know a thing or two about how to run things. They have had to made decisions and navigate complications in their careers and their home lives, which can all be applied to whatever new endeavor they are embarking upon. And while very few of us are seeking fame and/or fortune, I believe we all have the capacity to take up a new goal or imagine a new dream for ourselves, no matter how many trips around the sun are behind us. And in doing so, we can make the choice to add a new layer of happiness to our lives.
As I have said many times, life is short. We have to go after what we want and do everything we can to realize our dreams while we’re still here. Age is just a number, and if we do it right, it can be the happiest number there is.