Monday, 26 August 2019

Relax, darling. You have time.

Have you ever had the panicky feeling that you're behind in life? That everybody around you is further ahead and has their shit together more than you? That you are the only one who can't seem to catch up? 
I know you have. Because here's the thing: we all feel that way sometimes. In a society that values youth above everything, it seems that we only have a limited window to achieve the things we want to do, and that it's all over after a certain age. What age that is changes as we grow older: for kids and teens everybody over 30 is ancient and life is pretty much over. We believe that all the big stuff like career, a house, marriage and kids is happening in our twenties, which of course isn't true. Despite popular opinion, we can't do it all at the same time, and even more importantly, we don't have to. 

The older I get, the more I realize that the window never closes. I'm approaching 40, and I know that some of the best days of my life haven't happened yet. That's such an exciting thought!
Sure, our energy levels change as we grow older, most of us have aches and pains or health issues we didn't have at 18, but that doesn't mean that life is over. All it means is that we adjust and then go on with our bad selves!


Forget the 30-under-30 lists. Here's a list of people who succeeded late(r) in life that prove that it's never too late:

Vera Wang
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Before Vera Wang (who is 70 years old, btw!) became the famous fashion designer she is now, she was a figure skater who failed to make the 1968 Olympic figure skating team. She became an editor at Vogue, but was passed over for the editor-in-chief position. She began designing wedding gowns at age 40 and has now a business worth over $1 billion. 

Samuel L. Jackson
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Samuel L. Jackson (who's also 70 years old) was 46 when he finally got a starring role in Spike Lee's movie Jungle Fever. The film was so acclaimed that the 1991 Cannes Film Festival created a special "Supporting Actor" award just for him.
Before that he had roles in stage plays and some minor TV roles, but also struggled with drugs and alcohol and several heroine overdoses. 

Alan Rickman
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Maybe best known for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies, Alan Rickman didn't get his first movie role (in Die Hard) until he was 41. He died of cancer in 2016, but will be remembered through his movies forever. 

Henry Ford
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Henry Ford had a couple of failed automobile businesses under his belt before he released the Model T Ford in 1908 at age 45. The Model T was the first affordable automobile and the first car that was produced in an assembly line production. It was named "the most influential car of the 20th century" in the 1999 Car of the Century competition.  

Charles Darwin
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Even if you're not into science, you have heard of Charles Darwin. He was the guy who discovered that all species evolve over time in order to survive. He was 50 years old when he published On the Origin of Species, the book considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.

Julia Child
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Before Julia Child became the famous chef she is known for today she worked in advertising. After moving to France she decided that she wanted to learn how to cook and joined the Cordon Bleu cooking school. She was 50 years old when she published her first cookbook and soon after turned into a celebrated TV chef. Julia Child was the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Hall of Fame. 

Ray Croc
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Ray Croc is synonymous with McDonald's. He was one of the biggest fast-food tycoons in America and became a multi-millionaire. Interestingly, he was a salesman for most of his life before he became involved with McDonald's at age 52.
In 2016 the movie The Founder was released telling his story, which is incredibly interesting! You can find it on Netflix.

Colonel Sanders
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Another fast-food titan, Colonel Harland Sanders' story is an interesting one. He was 65 years old when he founded KFC, one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world.
I read this article titled The story of Colonel Sanders, the man who failed 1009 times before making KFC. According to the article, Colon Sanders dropped out of school in 7th grade, did a stint in the army and had a string of odd jobs before he settled into a permanent job at a Shell filling station. His mother had taught him to cook at age 7, and he cooked in his spare time and served food at his place to travelers. People loved his food, but when he started to travel to different restaurants and cooked his now-famous chicken in the hopes of expanding his exposure, he was rejected by an astonishing 1009 restaurants who didn't like the taste. Persistence paid off though, and his chicken recipe is one of the most beloved in the world.

Donald Fisher
Doris and Donald Fisher (source)
Donald and his wife Doris founded The Gap when he was 41 years old and Doris was 38.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
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You may have heard of a little TV show called Little House on the Prairie. It ran for 8 years and was TV gold. The show was based on the autobiographical book series Little House written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was 65 years old when she published the first book, Little House in the Big Woods and became wildly successful. 
A few years before she had tried to get her autobiography Pioneer Girl published but was uniformly rejected by publishers. Laura didn't give up, but rewrote it, and the rest is history. So inspiring! 


Anna Mary Robertson Moses
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Better known as "Grandma Moses", this celebrated American folk painter took up painting in earnest at age 78. Her paintings were featured on postage stamps, and one of them sold for over $1 million in 2016. She lived to be 101 years old, which meant that her painting career lasted over 20 years despite having started so late in life. She is an often-cited example that "it's never too late". 

Harry Bernstein
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The last person on this list is Harry Bernstein, who became a literary sensation at age 96 when he published the remarkable memoir The Invisible Wall. Bernstein's story proves that "overnight success" is a myth, having written 40 other books before, most of which he destroyed after they were rejected by publishers. The manuscript to The Invisible Wall gathered dust for an entire year at some desk at Random House before it was read by an editor who couldn't put it down. 
Bernstein went on to write 3 more books before he passed away at age 101 in 2011.

What all these people have in common are two important factors: passion and persistence. They didn't give up despite rejection and failing often, because they did something they loved and believed in. These stories are incredible examples of how it's never too late to follow your dreams, and that not giving up will pay off in the end. 

Happy Monday! Go and chase some dreams. 

xoxo Miriam 



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3 comments

  1. Hello Miriam. Thank you for such a great post. I read your blog regularly, but this is my first comment. I keep feeling like I am failing, but these examples remind me that dreams take time. I needed to hear this, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sydney, thank you for commenting! You are not alone in feeling like this, we all do, regularly! It's because we usually only see the last chapter of a story with the happy ending, and not the 20 chapters of trial and error and tears that led to it. We're all just trying to figure life out and everybody's timeline is different. Take your time, don't be afraid to fail (everybody does!) and don't compare your beginning with somebody else's end. You got this!

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