Today’s post is one I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I want to discuss finding your passion/purpose, getting into your groove, doing your “thing” successfully at an older age. We live in a time that seems to think that if you haven’t made your millions, aren’t able to retire at 45, or aren’t at the top of your career game by 40, then you’re a loser. That is so far from the truth! Just because Mark Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at 23 doesn’t mean that you belong on the trash heap because you’re 50 and are still working on making your mark in your industry. Not everyone is destined to be Mark Zuckerberg or Kylie Jenner. They are the exception, not the rule.
Life is a J-O-U-R-N-E-Y people! It’s not about the end game; it’s about how you get there through all the twists and turns, roadblocks, and obstacles. It’s about the pitstops we make in order to enjoy parenthood and explore other passions. It’s about learning from mistakes, and sometimes it’s just about taking time to handle things that become new and more important priorities. Sometimes—NO, ALL THE TIME—we change. We evolve and our dreams and desires change as we evolve.
There are examples of folks that became famous, rich, or leaders in their industry while they were young, and I’ve already named a couple above. But there are also plenty of examples of people who became all of those things and more later in life…after they raised their children, after they took care of a sick parent, after they retired from a job they needed in order to care for their family. Whatever the case for the delay in them becoming household names until way past their supposed prime, they still made their indelible mark.
Let’s take a look at a few of my personal role models and guilty pleasures:
I have to start with my favorite female celebrity chef (sorry Martha Stewart…I like you too) but Julia Child is my girl! The queen of cooking didn’t even write her first cookbook until she was 50! It was called Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She went on to have several cooking shows, and thanks to PBS I learned about this wonderful woman when I was a little girl. Thus began my own journey into the cooking world.
Thanks to Henry Ford and his Model T, mass car production became a thing. But guess how old he was when he created the Model T…he was 45 years old!
Ray Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman before he bought McDonald’s at the age of 52 and grew it into the world’s largest fast-food chain.
A gracefully beautiful woman that I admire who is considered a late bloomer is Vera Wang. She started her figure skating career at eight years old and later switched to fashion as an editor for Vogue. She was in her 40s when she became the fashion designer she’s most noted for today.
You can’t go to the movies now without seeing Samuel L. Jackson’s face on the big screen, in a trailer, or on a poster in the hall. But did you know he was 43 when he got his first breakout role in Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever? Still, he didn’t really become a household name until his rock-star role in Pulp Fiction. That movie solidified him as an icon in Hollywood. He was 46 years old!!!
For all of you Marvel Comic fans, did you know that Stan Lee was almost 39 when he created The Fantastic Four! He co-created Spider-Man after that, as well as the X-Men and other Marvel comic heroes.
I don’t want to bring down the positive mood here, but I cannot leave out my favorite celebrity chef of all time. Anthony Bourdain was a master cook, world traveler, and storyteller—my top three passions since, well…FOREVER. Anthony experienced a rollercoaster life. He went through times of both struggle and success on his way to ultimate name recognition, but he didn’t really become famous until his mid-40s. Anthony embodies everything that I strive for. Although Anthony struggled with his demons, he loved life, people, family, food, and adventure. A man after my own heart!!
I’ve saved another one of my favorite examples for last. Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder. Did you know she was 65 years old when she published her first Little House book? It was called Little House in the Big Woods. Her books inspired The Little House on the Prairie television show. It was my favorite show when I was a little girl. Our family never missed an episode. It came on Monday nights. We watched as a family with our homemade popcorn we popped on the stove in my mom’s big yellow cast iron cooker and washed it down with my mom’s favorite homemade lemonade she made with tap water, Real Lemon lemon juice and a pound of sugar!!!
I could go on, there’s Harland Sanders, better known as the Colonel. He was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken. He later sold it for 2 million dollars!!
Ok, I think you get my point. You haven’t missed your chance to make your mark on the world if you’re in your 40s like me. Like me, you’ve probably been busy raising kids & keeping the lights on and food in bellies. You may have changed careers like me. You may have gotten a divorce like me and had to change your priorities since you no longer have a partner to assist you. You may be helping to take care of your elderly parents. For whatever the reasons you haven’t been able to create that something special yet, don’t fret…you still have time.
Stop judging yourself and just appreciate where you are right now! Also, let the examples I’ve shown you prove that it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings…it ain’t over ‘til it’s over! It’s never too late to make your mark on this beautiful world we live in. Wherever you are right now in your quest to make your difference, in the words of the late, great Curtis Mayfield, “keep on pushing!!!” Check out his song Move On Up Below…it’s inspiring!!
—Peace, Love, & Baklava Forever,