March 1, 2004
Never Too Late
I’m a 37-year-old single mother still struggling to get myself together. I was planning to return to school to become a nurse, but I don’t want to graduate at age 40. I was thinking about becoming a journalist, but I felt I was a little too old. I have written a children’s book, but I am having a hard time getting it published. I would also like to open a designer boutique for kids [and] work as an advice columnist.
–A. Jones, Chicago
I have bad news for you. You’re going to have to continue to struggle, just like everyone else on the planet. Successful people aren’t those who avoid struggle, but those who struggle toward worthwhile, personally rewarding goals. You have plenty of dreams. What you need are goals.
It all starts with commitment. For example, allowing something as insignificant as your age at graduation to prevent you from completing your nurse training shows a lack of commitment. All of your dreams will take the same level of commitment, if not more, to realize. If you think 40 is too old to graduate from nursing school, how do you feel about the years of planning and effort it will take to accomplish your goals?
Read and do the exercises offered in a book by Barbara Sher: It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age (Dell; $15). Anything worth doing will take time and effort—even if you can’t get it done by age 40.