"For of All Sad Words of Tongue and Pen, the Saddest are These, It Might Have Been....." John Greenleaf Whittier
Imagine reaching a point in your life where you looked back over the years and deeply regretted not having done something you whole-heartedly wanted to do. Now imagine the reasons. Did you not pursue your dream goal because you put yourself second or third to everything and everyone else in your life? Or maybe it was because you were afraid to try and become dejected over not being good enough to "make it immediately?"
"It might have been" is a sad commentary to describe a life. That makes it a life lived without personal fulfillment. Unfortunately those words will become prophetic if, for whatever reason, you aren't nourishing your dreams.
What is sadder still is never having even tried because you felt at a certain age that it was too late for your success. However, dreams should have no age limit.
The great news is that it is never too late to begin to put yourself at the top of your list, prioritize, and do what you've always wanted to do. No matter if you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, you can still have your chance. Becoming successful is not limited to one certain age or even one career. In fact, the most successful people are the ones who have reinvented themselves, tried, failed, and tried again. Let's redefine the word failure as simply a plan that didn't work the first time around. It may just need a few tweaks and perseverance.
The following are great examples of people who did exactly that; they kept trying.
F. Murray Abraham got his first decent screen role as an actor when he was 45. The role was in the movie Amadeus and he won an Academy Award for his brilliant portrayal of Antonio Salieri. He had thought of giving up acting just two years before but thankfully didn't.
Andrea Bocelli didn't start singing opera seriously until the age of 34. Some 'experts' told him it was too late to begin.
Phyliss Diller became a comedian at the age of 37. She was told by many club owners that she was "too old" to become a success.
Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, was 43 when he began drawing his legendary superheroes and his partner Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four.
Julia Child didn't even learn to cook until she was almost 40 and didn't launch her popular show until she was 50.
Elizabeth Jolley had her first novel published at the age of 56. In one year alone she received 39 rejection letters but finally had 15 novels and four short story collections published to great success. Mary Wesley was 71 when her first novel was published. Talk about not giving up!
Ricardo Montalban had his dream house built at the age of 68. That was when he was finally financially able to do so and he went full-speed ahead with it.
Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 66 when he began to promote his style of cooking and create an empire.
Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing as a columnist in her 40s. Contrary to a belief begun by the TV series about her family, the popular Little House books weren't written when she was a young girl at all. They were written and published when the 'girl' was in her 60's!
All of these people were discouraged at times and afraid. Being human, they thought about giving up but didn't; they kept their dreams alive and continued to strive for what they wanted. They didn't assign an age limit to their dreams and neither should you.
If, as John Greenleaf Whittier says, the saddest words are "it might have been," the next saddest have to be "I should have tried."
Trying is in itself a form of succeeding. Succeed at valuing yourself and go for it!
copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton
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