I went to an art opening the other night, a photography school in the city.  I was invited by a friend, who had a friend exhibiting in the show.  The exhibitor was a woman in her fifties, married with 3 teenage/adult children and 2 teenage/adult step children.  She had a wonderful career as an architect and decided that she wanted to have a change of pace, so she quit her job and went back to school to learn photography.  At fifty something.

Sometimes, we think of being in our 50’s and above, or being empty nesters, as the end of the road.  Why do we do this?  Fear, society, I don’t know.  But we do- many people look at the second half of their life and sigh with resignation.  We need to stop doing that.  You know in a sporting event, how many second half comebacks there are?  And aren’t those come backs the most thrilling to watch and experience?  Well, it’s time for our comebacks.

As my writing class nears its conclusion, I noticed that the younger participants have dropped out, literally and figuratively. (to be fair, one of the older participants did as well)  Last night, the only ones to do the writing assignment were the over 35’s.  Why?  I don’t know- I didn’t take a poll, but I’d say the younger ones are either not ready to be writers (writing is really, really hard) or realized that they don’t want to be writers.  Which is great that they figured this out.

But let’s focus on the over 35’s.  They want to write.  They’re writing.  They’re taking classes.  They’re improving.  This includes me.  We want to do it.  We can do it.  We will do it.

So here’s the PSA- we can virtually start over now.  Age doesn’t matter.  We’re not ready to be pushed aside and looked over.  We can do anything.

So if you want to pursue a degree in something- go for it.  I mean you Carol(e) sorry- can’t remember how you spell your name, but I think you should become a phycologist, or at least study it- you love it.  And anyone else who has a passion or a yearning- it’s not too late to try.  We are not too old.  Go be whatever you want to be.  There are a plethora of online classes now- you could be in a yurt somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but if you have a viable internet connection, you can study Chinese cooking or art history or virtually anything.  Go to school, buy a book, join a group.  Get back in the game.

Here’s the best thing about being older- we have a much better understanding of who we are as people.  Our life experience has made us stronger and smarter.  We know how crappy life can be and we learned how to bounce back- no one makes it to fifty without a few setbacks.  And because we have a better understanding of who we are, we have a better idea of who we want to be.

I want to be a writer.  I don’t know if I will succeed, but I’m going to try.

What do you want to be?  Isn’t it worth a try?

73 thoughts on “Old Dogs and New Tricks

  1. I totally agree as I am also fifty-something and trying to re-invent myself as a writer/blogger. I read somewhere that as writers we should never stop learning, read, read, read! You are so right, it’s never too late! I also read that some of the great authors we know and love were not published until well beyond their fifties!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Next year might be the year I retire from teaching so I can pursue photography and writing — and maybe art, maybe mosaics . . . I want to volunteer for causes near and dear to my heart, the ones that can’t afford to pay me in dollars but that I know have serious “payment in kind” options. I’m very excited about this next phase! Might be an old dog, but I’m going to learn some new tricks for sure! And for what it’s worth — I think you’ll make it as a writer. You already have!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Great post! I wish some of my friends would this and take action. I always get from my friends “what a wonderful, fascinating life you have.” I always reply “you can too, go do it!” Very, very few do. Age, disability, gender, is only a limitation when you make it an excuse. I say- Dance like no one is looking and if they are dance even crazier, you only live once! Go follow your passion people!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We place a lot of emphasis on potential, and not as much on the drudgery of everyday trying. Those parts are the sped-up montage of a movie -and, ALWAYS result in the bigger, better person.
    I am younger, and my other life responsibilities seem to outrank and overwhelm desires to pursue hobbies. Perhaps this is why they drop out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there are lots of reasons people drop out, regardless of age. It’s hard to write! I also think some people can’t take criticism. And sometimes people think arts are fun, and they are, but it requires dedication. People don’t often realize that


  5. Excellent PSA! I’ve already re-invented myself once — I went to college online, got my BS in Paralegal Studies, quit my pharmacy technician job and went into law firm work! And this was in my early 40’s. I know I’ll do it again at least once more. Us old(er) farts still have a lotta life left in us! Look out, world, here we come —- and get those youngsters outta our way!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I am counting down to retirement and would leave my current profession now if I could. I have 8 months to an empty nest and 7 years to retirement. It’s time to figure this out.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. great post. I’m still trying to figure it all out myself during my late 40s. My kids are still young, but old enough to not need me at home all of the time. It can be a scary world out there for us moms who left the workforce for the kids.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Part of me wants to be snarky and say that I want to be a full time idle rich who spends all her time shopping, but I understand what you’re really trying to get across in thus post. I was 35 when I got clean, 36 when I went to college, 41 when I graduated. So yeah, us old people kick ass😍😉😍

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think you can do whatever you want to do if you commit and put your mind to it and that’s where most of us give up, not many of us commit, especially when we’re younger as we have too many distractions. I think we are more committed to learning or setting goals when we’re older.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am back in school – starting over at 51! I still don’t know what I want to do with it, and going to school part time while I work full time has a bit to do with it. Go get ’em!!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I’ve retired -twice- but I was kept so busy that I returned to part time work for a rest. Working as a course coordinator I see people changing their lives all the time. One delightful 78 year old enrolled in a course after having watched her husband die, and wants to “help other oldies”.Corporate types with thirty years experience behind them studying Holistic Health….It’s great stuff……..

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You make many good points here. My husband and some friends took several years off between college and law school. They all finished at the top of their class because they had a great work ethic and really wanted to do well. Sometimes, you can only learn that through experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You go girl!! This is timely! My birthday is today and I am 3 years away from 50! In the past 3 years I have really worked on my writing. I have always had a passion for it, but it was reignited now that I have more time for it! Now that my kids are in their teens. I am so excited for 2018 for that is when the Children’s book that I wrote with a fellow blogger/friend on here will be published!! The beginning of the year! I am hoping that this is just the beginning of more books!
    Keep pursuing your dream! it can happen!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I really love reading about what everyone is doing post 40ish! I went to culinary school at 46 and watched many of the younger students drop out! I started rock climbing at 48 and ran my first half marathon at 49. I started my blog to meet others in this “midlife crisis” stage and have been so happy that I did! Yes, age is just a number!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I am more than a tad over fifty and don’t feel I am finished yet. There is so much of life to experience at any age and always something new to discover. The younger people who don’t finish what they start doesn’t mean they have quit. They are just bouncing around in youth. They will find their desire, mission,
    place, whatever when the time is right. Those who don’t probably have no one encouraging them to be who they are…most folks encourage others to be who they (the others) think they should be. Anyway, rock on!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As college graduates we were being honored at a Phi Beta Kappa dinner, and each graduate was asked what they were going to do next. One stated that he was going to be a doctor. One a lawyer. One a professor, etc. When they got to me, I said, “I don’t know.”
    As it turned out, I went up to Alaska and pioneered on a mountaintop for a dozen years. My work history was varied, as you might imagine, and I never found a career. After I retired, I was urged by my sister to write my story of life on the Last Frontier. Since the technological revolution passed me by while I was living out in the bush, I am having a hard time getting the hang of computers and social media, but I did discover that I have a knack as a wordsmith. So, at 68, I think that I am an author!
    I sometimes wonder what the doctor and lawyer and professor, etc., who graduated with me turned out to be?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love this! I am still looking around for more to do… more to learn. Retirement is such a gift and I intend to make the most of this time. I didn’t retire with one big passion, but I have many interests and, what I call, passion-ettes. Photography, blogging, travel, fiber arts… etc.

    I have often thought that college is wasted on the young. They don’t usually know enough about themselves or, often, have the maturity and discipline to stick with it, even when it’s hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes, I agree with you. I wish you the best in accomplishing your dream. I think as you get older, we know it will be hard but it’s worth the struggle because your pursuing what you want. The younger crowds don’t want work as hard anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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