Few things are sadder than someone giving up on their dreams. It’s heartbreaking for many reasons. They’ll never know the feeling of achieving their goals, never know the feeling of living fulfilled and reaching self-actualization. Their families will never know what might have been and this world will never see the gift they had to offer. When one decides to throw in the towel, the disappointing impact is far reaching.
I know a woman, early sixties, who wanted to be a forensic scientist long before television shows made it cool and desirable. Her life took a different path and she got married and had children young. She went through a divorce and got married a second time and had more children. Then she spent twenty plus years working a job that she didn’t really enjoy but had certain conveniences that were just enough to make it worth staying. That happens to a lot of people and in the past, it happened to me. Are you satisfied with “just enough?” I know I’m not. Not anymore.
Now that she is retired, it seems to be a good time to pursue that dream. She doesn’t see it that way. She thinks she’s too old to chase her dream and convinced herself of that, so she is content with watching it all slip away into the twilight. I have a different take. I see no reason why she can’t take a college class or two on the subject just to get a taste, then reevaluate afterward to see what direction to go. She’ll say that it’s too late, who will hire a woman in her sixties to do the job? I will admit that is a fair point- she may not get hired by a law enforcement agency. But that isn’t the point. One need to be hired by the police to be a forensic scientist.
By getting the education and exposure (and even the college degree), she will have realized her dream of becoming a forensic scientist. She’ll have worked to achieve that goal and would have earned a tremendous accomplishment to be fiercely proud of. Rather than going to the grave knowing she let go of the dream, she could take her last breath knowing she didn’t let limiting beliefs or nonsensical societal notions stop her from doing what she truly wanted to do.
Maybe she wouldn’t be hire by a law enforcement agency but she could do an internship and get to actually do the work. Where she sees closed doors, I see opportunity. I think there are ways to monetize it and more importantly, ways that she can live the dream each day. She can start a blog and write about her experiences. The blog could attract a likeminded community that she has something in common with (and she may inspire others who think it’s too late to start hot pursuit of their own dreams). She could write a book or eBook about her endeavors and sell it, or hand it down to family as a treasured keepsake. She could offer services as a consultant, teach a class on the subject, speak to audiences crammed with curious people seeking life-changing inspiration and even become a television contributor for segments where esoteric analysis is needed. She might also be able to become an expert witness and testify in court. I’m not saying it would be easy nor am I saying every one of these would work out. What I am saying is that there are so many opportunities that exist if she would just take the time to open her mind and see them.
Age doesn’t deter one from chasing their dreams. Mindset does. That is why it is critical to identify self-defeating behaviors, challenge them and banish them from your life. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t be content to watch your dreams fade to black. Do the work. Take a brave step and believe in yourself just a little. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. We only have one life to live and the sweet truth is- it’s never too late to be what you might have been!