When I resigned from my role as a personal assistant to work for myself, I was faced with two main objections from family and friends. One was about money and the other one was about my age, which got me asking – what’s age got to do with you following your dreams?
The money side of things made sense to me.
It is one thing to chase after what you want in life and follow your dreams, quite another not to be able to pay the electricity bill.
At the time I was 45 years old.
So what does age have to do with following your dreams and going after your heart’s desire? Plenty as it turns out.
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Here are some of the fears that raised their ugly head during discussions with people about following my dream.
You will find it hard to get another job
I had quite a few people whip this little gem out.
They may have phrased it differently (you aren’t getting any younger you know) would be one charming example, but the meaning was the same. The meaning being – you are nearly 50, so you might have a hard time getting another job. Safer to stay put.
I have to be honest, this doom and gloom advice did get me thinking.
I have heard personal experience stories from friends that tried to get jobs into their fifties and had a particularly hard time. It took one of my female friends a very long time to get a job that she was qualified for. Around 20+ interviews long time.
A similar version of – you will find it hard to get another job – is if you get out of the market, it will be hard to get back in. There is some truth in this one. Getting back in can be difficult as employers worry that you have lost your skills or that you are not up to scratch with new software and systems.
After I got over the initial impact of this issue, I realized the damage holding onto this fear could do to my life (if I allowed it).
It would leave me floundering in a job that I had outgrown which was making me unhappy. Is that what I wanted for the next twenty or so years of my working life? No thank you.
Posts to improve your self-worth so you have the courage to follow your dreams –
- What Stops Us From Pursuing our Dreams?
- 12 Things To Remember When You Feel Not Good Enough
- 25 Ways to Be More Courageous in Life
You won’t have enough energy
I’m the first to admit I don’t have the stamina or energy of a 23-year-old. However, I do have more commitment, drive, tenacity, and a whole bunch of other qualities, that I did not possess in large quantities when I was 23.
Whilst this issue may have some merit, it is hardly a valid reason to stop you from doing what you want.
My theory. Do something you love – you will be surprised how much energy you have.
Related post – 10 Ways to Have More Energy
You will be competing against people a lot more experienced (and younger) than you
Competing against people more experienced is par for the course in any profession, let alone when you are trying something new and starting out.
While I need to be aware of my competition, worrying about how experienced they are or their age range is not going to benefit me in any way.
Learning as much as possible, doing my best work, and accepting that everyone has to start somewhere will hold me in much better stead.
Related post – 16 Thought-Provoking Comparison Quotes to Help You Stop Comparing
You won’t be at the same level as your friends
Basically, I’m starting a new career from close to scratch.
Most of my friends are getting to the stage where they are excelling in their chosen professions, earning great salaries, getting promotions, or upgrading to better jobs in the same industry. Some are even retiring early.
I will be at the opposite end of that spectrum.
This one doesn’t actually bother me all that much. I’ve often done things differently from what my friends were doing. When I was 18, I was engaged while my friends were out partying. When they started to get married, I was single. When they started having kids, I was throwing on a backpack at 38 and traveling through South East Asia and Eastern Europe by myself, having the time of my life.
You get the picture. I have no problem running against the tide to what other people are doing.
Related post – Does it Feel Like Everyone Is Moving Forward in the Career – Except You?
You shouldn’t be doing that at your age
I read a lot of great blogs about people leaving their jobs and becoming entrepreneurs or traveling the world and having extraordinary adventures.
I’m also aware that a lot of them are a lot younger than me.
As I mentioned above, I have hardly taken the conventional path through life so far. In some people’s eyes, at my age I should be married with a couple of children, not chucking in my job and trying to change my career.
The people that think this, however, are not me.
Writing this post is making me realize how old I am making myself sound. I’m 45 – not 105. Time to stop feeling old!
Books to encourage you to follow your dreams –
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero (This is one of my favorite feel-good books. If I’m feeling a bit down, I whip it out, read a chapter relevant to how I am feeling and it always puts me in a better mood 🙂 )
- Girl on Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blaze Your Own Trail in Life and Business – Cara Alwill Leyba
- Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams – Gabrielle Bernstein
Age is a positive driver for following your dreams
Some of these conversations came as quite a surprise to me.
Whilst many of these things had no doubt crossed my mind, I didn’t see them as major barriers until I started talking to people.
I’ve never acted my age, nor thought of myself as being defined by being a certain age.
Once I ran around the above fears in my head a few times (a few times too many, I might add), I realized a few things.
Firstly, I should stop listening to the opinions of everyone else and trust my own instincts.
Secondly, my age is one of the positive driving factors for stepping up and taking a risk. To be blunt, if I don’t take the step now, I may never take it and that’s not a situation I am willing to accept. Now is the time to strike.
I personally believe that we should not be defined by our age. There are 18-year-olds out there doing some amazing things. There are also lots of 65-year-olds doing the same.
Each to his own at any age. Be bold and take a stand for what you believe in. Following your dreams might not always go the way you want it to and it will be hard at times, but it’s always worth it!
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Read Next – 10 Behaviors That Stop You Growing as a Person
Gosh, I’m going through the same thing now. I am a few days away from 40, having been doing the job I’m currently doing for almost 15 years, and need a change. I feel like I’m also starting from scratch and have been feeling quite down about it but your blog post has given me confidence: “Do something you love – you will be surprised how much energy you have.”
Thanks for the comment. Great to hear you enjoyed the post.
It can definitely be hard to figure out what our next step should be. Do you have any idea what sort of profession or work you might like to move into? Is there anything that really sparks your interest?
I am glad that the post gave you confidence. I also hope you have a wonderful 40th birthday!!! I hope you have a party with family/friends planned. All the best for your 40th and I look forward to seeing you here again soon.
Thea, I think its wonderful that you have that attitude. I feel very similar. I’m 55 and people are always surprised when they find out as I don’t look or act my age. In fact, saying the words “I’m 55” doesn’t seem real to me because I’ve never felt my age. I’ve taken lots of chances in my life, especially as I got older.
My mother died in 2001 and, other than giving birth to my wonderful son, this was the biggest life changing moment for me. As a single mother with an 11 year old, I decided to leave a safe job that I had been doing for 20 years to renovate houses. At the time, I had never used a piece of hardware other than a hammer to put a nail in a wall.
After four months I had pulled up carpet, removed wallpaper, painted every room, put up curtains and blinds with my new power drill and driven a 4 tonne truck to the Gold Coast to pick up a second hand kitchen I’d bought. I also sold the house myself without using an agent and made a year’s salary in 4 months.
I may have been physically able to do this when I was 23, but I would not have been mentally able to commit myself to taking such a big risk. The thing that age has given me is the confidence to take a chance.
Good luck Thea.
Thank you for the great comment and for sharing your inspiring story. Thank you also for your encouragement.
I think what you did was fabulous! Very courageous and inspiring. Good on you. I smiled to myself when you mentioned your skill with a hammer before you started, I can relate. And yet you went on to renovate the house and make money. That is pretty amazing. Sounds like you really worked hard to get what you wanted. I admire you for that.
Again thanks for the wonderful comment and look forward to seeing you here again soon.
Good for you and congratulations… Bob Marley said don’t worry be happy. I’ve gone through that a few times in my life… gone after my dreams and at any age.
I always say Dream Big, because people with small dreams have big excuses, you can’t get them off the couch. I like what you said, Do something you love – you will be surprised how much energy you have.
Wayne Dyer said, do what you love and love what you do and you’ll never work another day in your life. I think he meant that every thing will seem like playing.
Remember, if you say you can or if you say you can’t… you’re right.
You’ll be fine… age is a mindset, it has nothing to do with years.
We live in a culture that worships at the altar of youth. But the sad fact is, while the young may have endless stamina and energy, the 30 and 40 year olds have much more experience and usually have failed many times before!
Disclaimer: I actually just turned 30 recently. I keep up to date with the tech startup world which is pretty much ran by 20 to 22 year olds. I decided that I wanted to start my own startup the day before I turned 30, and I haven’t stopped having fun since. (Okay, that’s a lie, there were a few days where it was not fun) But my point is, I really think I’m in a MUCH better position at 30 than I was at 20 because I’m more focused.
Good luck to you!
Great to see you here. I hear you on a culture that worships the young. But yes life experience certainly counts for a lot, though it is not as valued as it should be sometimes.
Congratulations on your new start up and good on you for taking the plunge. I hope it is all going well so far. Glad to hear you are enjoying it and having fun.
I totally understand that not every day is fun. I am such a technophobe – that seems to be where most of my hair pulling comes from. I am constantly improving and learning though, so that helps.
Good luck to you with your startup. Keep in touch and let me know how you are going.
I look forward to seeing you here again soon.