I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping up with my blog posts this past year. It’s not that I don’t love doing it or that I’ve run out of things to share. It’s because my day job (the one that pays the bills) has taken a turn. An unexpected turn. A good turn.
You see, I’m very good at my job and I work hard (I’m a project manager) but my drive to climb the corporate ladder took a back seat when my children came along. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t regret it nor do I resent my children but, if I am honest with myself, I kind of fell into a rut.
I did the same job for so long that I could almost do it in my sleep. Sometimes I think I did.
This came in handy at the time of my life when I often had to take time off for doctor appointments, parent/teacher conferences, snow days or Christmas concerts. I never got any push back when I couldn’t work late because I had to pick the kids up before 6:00pm (or be charged a dollar a minute!). They always knew my work would get done.
Of course my work would get done – I could do a whole days work in 3 hours now!
I am grateful to my company and especially my boss for affording me these accommodations when my kids were young and for not making me feel guilty when I had to put my family first.
Fast forward 19 years and my children are almost grown. Grown enough at least that they don’t need me to be involved in every moment of their day anymore. Nor do they want me to be! My role as a mom has changed from entertainment director and band-aid dispenser to chauffeur and ATM.
So now what?
I thought that my career had piqued. Young blood was all around me – kids fresh out of university, starting their lives; eager and a lot cheaper than me. We had nothing in common unless I was giving wedding or baby advice. I was always the oldest one at the conference table; sitting there wishing I had coloured my hair last night.
I’m 50 years old for heaven’s sake and I wondered if it was even worth putting the effort in anymore.
I am here to tell you right now that IT IS worth putting in the effort.
I knew my boss was smart but I didn’t know that he believed the same of me. He recognized my efforts; appreciated my experience and, when he saw that I now needed more, he started giving me more.
I am almost 10 years older than my boss and sometimes I wondered if he forgot this. He was giving me responsibilities and opportunities that I thought were lost years ago. I would bite my tongue when I wanted to say:
Are you sure you want this old lady to lead the meeting?
I finally realized that it was my choice now – do I stay in my rut or do I accept these new challenges? The opportunity was being handed to me and it was up to me to choose to seize it or not.
I chose to seize the opportunity!
I started to believe in myself and I started to push myself. It was hard at first and it was scary. I had to move out of my comfort zone and I had a lot to learn. The fear of failure almost stopped me a number of times. Risk is a young persons game. But, with the support of great people around me, I persevered.
Now I’m travelling all over the western hemisphere meeting with clients; I have people reporting to me (those young people) and I got my first ever bona-fide promotion last Christmas.
I’m exhausted and loving every minute of it.
What I’m trying to tell you is that it’s okay to be a late bloomer!
It’s never too late to discover and/or unleash a talent that maybe you didn’t even know you had. Fifty years old is not the beginning of the end – it can be the beginning of something new and wonderful. The beginning of whatever you want the second half of your life to look like.
I started this blog when I was in my rut because I was bored and scared. Scared that I was the only one feeling lost and unsure of my future. Scared because I didn’t know what my life after 50 was going to look like. As it turns out – 50 looks like whatever you want 50 to look like. And 60 and 70!
My outlook has changed and now I see that opportunity doesn’t know the age of the person on the other side of the door. It knocks on everyone’s door! And it’s up to you to open the door and see what’s out there.
Do you have a story to share about a challenge or a triumph you’ve experienced post 50? Share it with us in the comments below of email me directly (use the “contact” page).
We need lots of positive role models!
Following are few more late bloomers that you may not be aware of:
Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake device salesman before buying McDonald’s at age 52. He grew it into the world’s biggest fast-food franchise.
Colonel Harlan Sanders was 65 when He Launched Kentucky Fried Chicken
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first book, “Little House in the Big Woods,” came out in 1932 when she was 65. It was the first of her eight-volume “Little House” series.
Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was 40 and published her first best-selling cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” when she was nearly 50.
Grandma Moses, now one of the biggest names in American folk art, didn’t start painting until she was in her seventies, producing her first canvas at 76.
Ronald Reagan wasn’t elected to his first public office until he was 55 years old and was 69 years old when he was first sworn in as President of the United States.