HomeLife StyleDreams don’t die in middle-age – why it’s never too late to...

Dreams don’t die in middle-age – why it’s never too late to pursue your passion

Morgan Freeman was 50 when he got his big acting break. Julia Childs was the same age when she scored her own cooking show. And Raymond Chandler had his first detective novel published at the grand old age of 51. These are the positive “it’s never too late!” stories regularly wheeled out to inspire us when we realise that, contrary to what we’d like to believe, it’s looking highly doubtful we’ll make it onto any “30 under 30”, “40 under 40”, or even “50 under 50” lists.

Now, there’s a new – and arguably even more remarkable – example to add to the pantheon. At the age of 90, the first ever Black astronaut candidate has finally made it into space. Ex-air force captain Ed Dwight, selected but then ultimately passed over by Nasa in 1963, became the oldest person to reach the edge of space on 19 May, courtesy of a Blue Origin flight.

“I thought I really didn’t need this in my life but now I need this in my life,” he said after the rocket touched back down to Earth. “I am ecstatic … It was a life-changing experience. Everybody needs to do this.”

Dwight’s achievement may not be within reach for most of us, but he’s the latest in a recent spate of heartening stories charting people’s pursuit of their dreams into middle-age and beyond. Like the 63-year-old who recently shared his experience of becoming a male model after retirement, having discovered that a post-career lack of purpose was giving him anxiety.

“I’m not a chiselled hunk – just an average-looking old guy, bald with a grey beard – but I’ve been pretty successful,” Anthony Clark Hurd wrote in The Telegraph. He’s now done Paris Fashion Week, featured in campaigns for Coca-Cola, the Premier League and Nike, and even done his first underwear shoot.

“I’m now living a dream I never knew I had; succeeding in an industry I barely knew existed, and discovering myself for the first time at 64,” he said.

It follows an American woman finding viral fame when she decided to document her journey of trying to make it on Broadway in her fifties. Now 56, Kim Hale has over 750,000 followers and 12 million likes on TikTok, where she posts videos of her joyful, sharp-as-a-tack dance routines. “You’re never too old to go after your dreams”, is a common theme in her content, as is “life begins at 50” – and she’s living proof. After moving from LA to New York this year, Hale finally achieved her lifelong ambition on 14 May, when she performed in Chicago for one night only.

Speaking about finding fame and becoming a social media sensation, she told daytime news programme GMA3: “Jerry Mitchell, a Tony-Award-winning choreographer, wrote a comment on my Instagram and he said, ‘Dreams have no deadlines.’ And I carry that with me every day. Anything is possible at every age and living life just knowing you gave it your best shot.”

Dreams have no deadlines. At first listen, it’s the kind of line you might assume is a hollow platitude destined for a banal piece of wall art, in the vein of “Live, laugh, love”. But perhaps it’s something we all need to hear against the currently dispiriting backdrop of our society.

An unhealthy obsession with youth, and of true success or fulfilment being the preserve of the young, isn’t an idea our culture has yet managed to do away with. If anything, the entrenched belief that “old” equals “put out to pasture” has further intensified with the ever-growing menu of procedures designed to halt the ageing process. Alongside Botox, fillers, peels, facelifts and seven-step skincare regimes, is the experimental de-ageing movement, with the likes of tech millionaire Bryan Johnson attempting to rewind his biological age via a combination of diet, exercise, supplements and… taking his son’s blood? (Yes, you heard me right.) The messaging everywhere seems to say: don’t get old. Old people have no value. Plough your time, energy and money not into your passions, but the relentless pursuit of reversing the passage of time.

It reflects a wider shift in attitudes when it comes to equating age with wisdom. As Clark Hurd puts it, all the “glamour and excitement” of modelling has also “opened my eyes up to how invisible retirement can make people – maybe men especially – and how little respect there is for older people.” While he was brought up to respect his elders and loved talking to them and learning from them, he observes that “nowadays, if I go somewhere like the gym, and try and have a chat with guys in their twenties, they’ll just talk among themselves, and look at me like: what do you know? And I think to myself, I know a lot more than you do, because I’ve been around 35 or 40 years longer.”

An unhealthy obsession with youth, and of true success or fulfilment being the preserve of the young, isn’t an idea our culture has yet managed to do away with

Hale too talks about the stigma she’s faced when going after a dream more associated with people 20 years her junior.

“To know that you’re seen as a woman over 50 with white hair, means so much,” she said. Her comment reminded me of a recent tweet with a similar sentiment: “Honestly. If you ever need someone to do clandestine surveillance work, send a middle-aged woman cos we are, it seems, TOTALLY INVISIBLE.” Comment after comment agreed, with one user responding, “Grew out my hair dye during lockdown and my hair is now its natural grey. It’s like an invisibility cloak.”

Though I don’t want to crush anyone’s dreams of becoming a fiftysomething spy, wouldn’t it be preferable to start acknowledging that life – and people’s inherent worth – doesn’t stop at middle-age? Particularly not when life expectancies continue increasing; that’s a long time to be made to feel irrelevant. Forget injecting poison into my face to delay the inevitable – the middle-aged mavericks who are going against the grain by going after what they want and finding renewed purpose are the people I want to emulate while ageing (dis)gracefully.

As Hale puts it: “I spent a lot of my life being what I thought I ‘should’ be or what people expected me to be. And when I just started living authentically… things started to open up. And one day I started to think, ‘maybe I could still be on Broadway!’” Amen to that. Now, excuse me while I go and enrol in an adult dance class. After all – dreams have no deadlines.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments