it’s never too late to begin again

Handlettering by Lisa Congdon
Handlettering by Lisa Congdon

Finding the right road

Only a few of us have the road mapped out from early years, and even if we have, not many stick to it through life. A lot of people put their dreams on a back burner for decades when life demands something different from them, before getting the chance to connect with their aspirations again. The Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira (1908-2015) completed his first film at 33 years old in 1941. Due to family business and other difficulties he didn’t complete his second feature film until 1971 (turning 63). He made his last film in 2013 at the age of 105! Others live content (or not!) with their jobs until one day they haphazardly discover something totally unexpected. The French painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) was a customs official and didn’t pick up a brush until the age of forty. At age 49 he started to paint full-time despite several rejections from the famous Salon in Paris. Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) wrote her legendary series “Little house on the Prairie” between 65 and 76 after a long life of farming (although she started to write columns for a paper in her forties)! These were among my absolute favourite books as a little girl and they’re STILL finding new young readers in the Harry Potter era. Speaking of which – nobody would have missed the story of J.K. Rowling writing her first book in her late thirties being a newly divorced, single mom on welfare? The rest is history…

Late bloomers

Sometimes we call these persons “late bloomers”. Among the most inspirational things I know is to meet people that regardless of age plunge into new adventures with a young spirit and full of curiosity to learn new things! A famous example is the beloved American folk artist Grandma Moses (1860-1961) who started painting as late as 78 years old (!) and now is represented among the collections of many museums worldwide.

Everyone loves a prodigy – but isn’t it even more amazing to learn something completely new and reach your fullest potential in the midstream of life? It craves another determination and bravery as you might have a lot more to lose in the process. Famous chef Julia Child (1912-2004) had a career in writing and advertising when she moved to Paris at 36 years old, and after tasting the French cuisine enrolled to a Paris cooking school which completely changed her life! P.D. James (1920-2014) wrote her first crime novel at age 40 while working for the British Home Office. She retired from work at age 65 with seven more books completed. She would continue writing full-time until her death at age 94.

50 is the youth of old age

Victor Hugo once wrote: “40 is the old age of youth. 50 the youth of old age.” Today the span of a working life is longer than ever. Many people embark on a thriving new career later in life, which prove to be the starting point of their real forte.

A person I admire that changed her life from being a social worker into becoming an independent artist, illustrator, writer and teacher, running a hugely successful blog, is Lisa Congdon. I hardly think I need to introduce her but if you want to know what she is all about, head over to her blog “Today’s going to be awesome” and read her own story. She was in her late thirties when she discovered her ability of painting and illustrating. More about her in an upcoming post!

I hope you find this as inspiring as I do! It is never too late to start again and sometimes you have to wait until you find your real mission in life. But I’m convinced that every step of the road was necessary to get there!

Copyright of the picture in this post belongs to the artist Lisa Congdon

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