Frank McCourt published his first book, Angela’s Ashes, when he was 66 years old. The following year he received The Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Critics Circle Award.
Several years ago I found myself wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I was nearing 50 and, like many women in their twenties, I wondered what the future had in store for me. I never thought I’d be at the same crossroads I visited thirty years before.
But there I was, holding my yearning in one hand and my self-doubt in the other. What was a girl to do?
Being in midlife can be an exciting time, with the power to feel the thrill and challenge of your next journey awaiting you. That journey is within your control.
I was always envious of people who knew at an early age exactly what they wanted to do. I had floundered between jobs from publishing to real estate to healthcare, always trying to “find” myself. I managed my work life the way I thought I was supposed to, working nine-to-five jobs that, in the end, was unfulfilling yet earned a steady paycheck. Was this all there was?
Julia Child launched her first cooking show at the age of 51. F. Murray Abraham received his first good role and won an Academy Award for “Amadeus” at age 47.
Someone recently asked me, “What would your 20 year old self say to you about making yourself happy?” Surprisingly I didn’t miss a beat. The answer was on the tip of my tongue.
There it was. I said it out loud. I felt a sudden release of emotions that I’d kept deep inside of me for years. Why is it that we ignore that little voice we have that says exactly what we need to hear?
So I decided to rely on my ability to write, and chose to focus on issues that mattered to me most. I jumped full steam ahead, and voraciously read whatever I could about creating a blog, using social media and reaching a targeted audience. Soon after I was hired for my first paid writing job by a reputable health website. And so my new journey began.
At age 65, Colonel Sanders took his money from his Social Security check and began to open franchises. Less than 10 years later he sold the franchise to a corporation for 2 million dollars.
I am sticking with my dream of writing - shaping it, molding it and making it my own. The downside of writing is it can feel lonely at times, but overall it’s rewarding beyond all measure. I’ve made new friends who are like-minded and generous of heart.
Rodney Dangerfield was a last-minute replacement on the The Ed Sullivan Show, and became the surprise hit of the show. He was 46 years old.
So what is your inner voice telling you? Listen to it. It’s there to guide you. Put the brake on your busy life, open your heart and really listen. Go after your dreams, because we only get one shot at this life. We might as well do what we love to do!
Read this next: Choosing Gratitude
Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.