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Stephanie Bennett Vogt Headshot

57 And Just Getting Started: Reflections of a Late Bloomer

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"Change happens slowly, then all at once." -- Unknown

Next June marks forty years since I graduated from high school.

My fortieth reunion. It sounds so... old.

It reminds me of the time I attended my fifth reunion back in 1977. As I watched the gray-haireds lining up for their class photo, I remember thinking clear as day: God those people look ancient.

It also reminds me of a comment a friend made seventeen years ago at my 40th birthday party: "You are now closer to your sixties, than the Sixties."


I can't even wrap my brain around the obvious fact that those ancient people are now me! And that sixtieth birthday is just around the corner. I may be gray-haired, have creaky knees, and straddle two centuries, but I feel like I'm just getting started! While some of my peers are talking about grandchildren, I feel like I'm finally figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

Am I missing something? Was there a memo that went around when I wasn't looking?

The truth is, 2011 will go down as one of the most creative, productive, and gratifying of my life. With giddy excitement I welcomed a second edition release of my book, three new book projects, technological upgrades that allow people (with much better eyesight than I have) to enjoy my book on their smartphone, heartfelt letters from grateful readers (that continue to arrive unsolicited in my email box), and the opportunity to share my musings with you all in this space here. I may be fooling myself, but it does feel like I'm finally gaining some real clarity, traction, and momentum - realizing in greater measure what I came here to do and be.

Though it's exciting to finally harvest the fruits of so much labor, it is also a really good thing I didn't know that it would take years.

Years of honing, editing, and pitching. Years of cursing, wailing, and wishing. Years of breaking through... and breaking down... and breaking through again.

If this 57-year-old could offer any wisdom about her journey so far, it would be this: If you have a passion for anything... go for it! Whether it is writing the next bestseller or keeping your email inbox moderately tamed...

Just do it.

Do it imperfectly and keep doing it.

Do it even if you have to claw your way up the mountain one bloody stump at a time.

Do it because we are all rooting for you to make it to the top of your personal Mount Everest.

Do it, not because of some desired outcome, but because your soul depends on it.

I for one will take my 57-year-old (ish) self to that reunion next June and wear my gray mane proudly.

I will continue to surround myself with beauty, release what doesn't work for me, and keep doing what I love.

I will send out this silent blessing to everybody out there that could use a lift and a nudge: Do what makes your heart sing. And if you don't know what it is yet, keep going until you find it.

Or it finds you.