George Bernard Shaw said, "Youth is wasted on the young." And he was right, of course. But I think dreams are often wasted on the young as well, when the sweetness cannot be fully tasted or anticipated or understood, even.
When we're in our 20's, we are full of energy, we think we have forever, and everything seems possible. We squander years like we won't run out of them, and take detours that the wisdom of having lived would never allow us to take.
I can't speak from the vantage point of someone having been "discovered" at an early age. When I started in the music business, it had already made the transition from acoustic singer/songwriters to synthesizers and sequencing. So instead of forging my own artist path, I took the one that seemed more practical and reasonable - that is if one can really use those words in describing the music business. I became a professional songwriter.
I was surrounded by the best voices on the planet, most of whom were my friends, and I was pitching songs to the more well known best voices on the planet, all the while harboring that Carole King singer/songwriter dream I had grown up listening to and being influenced by.
At some point, I just put the dream away altogether, taking it out occasionally to play songwriter rounds at the famed Bluebird Café in Nashville. Those evenings were the most soul fulfilling of my life at the time, because they were the manifestation of what I had longed to do since early childhood. But still, it didn't occur to me that there was a way for me to have that all the time, and not just on occasion.
Something happens to us when we approach 50. I know this is true particularly for women. We reach a point where we become physically incapable of denying ourselves our truth any longer. We embark on new careers, hobbies, lifestyles, relationships, and journeys. We dare what we wouldn't have dared when we were younger. We learn to speak our minds and honor that part of us which has longed to be heard.
So I made a decision - to stop pitching songs to other people, at least for a while, and to make the record (yes, record) that I always wanted to make. It took me nearly three years, during which time I became eligible to join AARP. And I'll be the first to tell you that it was no small or easy undertaking. However, it was the best and most rewarding decision I ever made. And the unexpected surprises and people who came my way because I chose to do that, are proof that, when we take a leap of faith in ourselves, we are supported in unimaginable and miraculous ways by a world that would say "yes" to us.
For the full story and video, go to Parade: http://parade.com/475382/jerylbrunner/hit-songwriter-ilene-angel-on-her-new-cd-and-following-your-dreams/