My daily mid-stretch crisis
Van Gogh was 36 when painting his Sunflowers (London version)
Maya Angelou was 41 when she published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (holding jobs such as fry cook, dancer, actress, poet, and educator previously, she was goaded into writing it and took two years doing so)
Stephanie Kwolek was 41 when at DuPont she discovered and produced Kevlar.
Vera Wang was 45 when Nancy Kerrigan wore a unique design of Vera’s for the 1994 Olympics.
Patrick Stewart was 47 when ST:TNG first aired. (“still living out of his suitcase”/”unknown British Shakespearean actor”)
Julia Child was 50 when she did the tv series “The French Chef” (and did others in into her 80s!)
J.R.R. Tolkien was 62 when The Lord of the Rings was first published
Peter Roget published the first Thesaurus at age 73
And I am sure there are many more examples of “later life” (what? It’s like 3/4 of your life!) people doing cool things and living. I think the biggest lie our generation (talking born mid 80s) was that we believed things happen in a very strict sequential order, and since the beginning of our lives has a very quick progression to it, we think “Ok, high school, college, marry, success, retire” - no one bothering to mention the lengths of time between these things can vary and get VERY long right at the end there. From the ages of 0-20s, we grow and develop rapidly, then there is a big slowing. These years feel listless and directionless, like we’re waiting for retirement or getting bored by daily grind. But this is our time to do whatever we want with it, and just because the media and society is great at acting like you’re a failure if you don’t rocket to success after “working hard” and lose all value once you’re not 18 and perky doesn’t mean it’s true. Heck, let’s take that time away from the scrutiny and pressure to explore and try new things. This time in our lives can be a barren wasteland of feeling like shit because of all the lauded teenage popstars making millions, or… Or… we can go discover who we are and what we can do without parents, tv and magazines telling us who we should be. We have a new kind of freedom at this age, even if the economy doesn’t make us feel that way. I mean, we’re really lucky to have access to tutorials and information all over the internet we can learn SO much in our spare time now. Spare time is difficult, I know… but I feel like… instead of sitting around feeling lost and disappointed and letdown by how we were told life would work out, we can take this very long stretch of time and maybe look up a YouTube video on how to make homemade noodles or refurbish a chair or learn a new language or something.
Live. We have lots of years to do it ahead of us.