Advice for Getting Past Society’s Status Quo

If you’re lucky, you’ll reach your “golden years”. 

Whenever you think those are. 

I used to think 60 was old. Now when I hear someone has left the building at 75, I am heartbroken on their behalf because that seems too young.

Despite societal ‘norms’, which as lifespans increase are becoming increasingly obsolete, where you are chronologically on your life’s trajectory does not have to have any bearing on what you choose to do with the time you have left. If you’re willing to work with what you’ve got physically, you can learn the piano, write a novel, start doing comedy or become a competitive ballroom dancer in a wheel chair.

Whether you think you’re too old or you’re not, you’re right. 

So given that to be the case, if you’re contemplating a creative career or avocation the real question becomes: is your age a reason not to do something or an excuse to play it safe?  

The fact is, whether or not you learn to speak French, take up pottery or start a YouTube channel within the next five years, hopefully either way you will still get to be five years older.

That begs the question: What do you want to be able to look back on? What do you want to leave behind? You don’t have to have become famous for your memory to be a blessing.  If a single person is moved by your story and it causes them to think about something differently, you have changed the world. 

An elderly cousin of mine became a stage actress after she retired from running a shoe store.  I never got to see her in anything because she lived in France, but that just makes me happy. She was one more person being an exemplar for living a passionate life. I had an ancestor in Russia who I’m told was a cantor. Just knowing that intrigues me and fills me with pride. My mother’s father, a veterinarian, played the violin. I wish I could have heard him, but somehow that makes me feel like I knew him even though we did not share a language and he died when I was 10. 

As the late Barbara Sher declared in her TED talkwe depend on each other’s dreams coming true.”

From that perspective, if you’re somebody who is good at showing up for other people, not showing up for yourself is actually a way of letting other’s down…because you are missing the opportunity to show them how it’s done.