Over 50 : Is It Too Late to Dream?

The pandemic has kept the world in place for more than a year in a great pause. Around the world, those younger than 30 protest, and party, trying to ensure they don’t lose time. And on the other side of the equation, plenty of seniors worry about the enjoyment of their remaining years. Then there are those over 50, those somewhere in the middle or older who wonder what’s next.

Wisdom is not something that necessarily arrives in a linear progression with time. Although, for some of us, that’s precisely how it comes. Some seem full of wisdom early in their years, and sometimes those over 50 wonder how they got so wise in fewer years. Perhaps it comes from intense experiences happening earlier in life. For example, someone with a disease or an unstable home could easily become wise beyond their years.

But what of those over 50, and for whatever it’s worth, have wisdom arrive in its linear life journey. Often wisdom offers new ideas, and yes, dreams. So, is it too late to dream? Is it too late to do a 360 on one’s life and pursue another life path—especially after a time of restraint and reflection?

New Dreams and Ideas for The Middle-Aged and Beyond

The simple answer to the question, if it’s too late to dream and run with it if you’re over 50 is, no. Typically, once people arrive in their 50s, they own who they are as a person. By this point, no one’s telling them what they need to do or how they need to be or behave. In short, the trappings of youth give way to what’s essential to a person of any age—living true to who they are as a person.

The question then becomes, well, how do you achieve your dreams when you’re so established, or better still, when children, partners, or friends view you in a particular light? It’s often harder for others to see the changes and understand the new ideas that happen within a person than it is for the person to know they’ve changed. In other words, their ideas and the ways they perceive realities have shifted.

The Journey Begins by Standing on the Shoulders of Others

Immersing oneself in new ideas and dreams could start by looking at the lives of others. Inspiration is an essential aspect of motivation. And immersing oneself in the stories and journeys of others could become fuel for achieving new dreams over 50. Fortunately, the internet is full of stories of people doing great things after 50.

For example, at the age of 89, Dorothy Davenhill Hirsch arrived at the North Pole in August of 2004 with her family. The family started touring around the world in 1980. The Guinness Book of World Records designated her as the oldest person to achieve that distinction. In 2013, Diana Nyad tried and succeeded in her 5th attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida without using a shark cage. Her dream swim of 110 miles took her 53 hours nonstop.

The incredibly talented and masterful actor, Viola Davis, achieved the Hollywood dream and fame at 49. Sure, it’s just shy of over 50, but her talent is incredible. Although Davis was accomplished in her field for years, the series “How to Get Away With Murder” led to her obtaining an Emmy Award. She is the first African-American woman to receive that prestigious award. 

At nearly 60, Patricia Forehand decided to follow her dream and become a comedian. Up to that point, she was an educator for 32 years. The way she tells her story, she became an educator because women of her generation were guided into certain paths, such as nursing or marriage. However, she loved and admired the talents of Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy. Her spirit was in comedy.

How to Follow Your Dream Path if You’re Over 50

Dreams and goals are entirely personal. No one’s vision of the future is the same as anyone else, even if the plans may appear similar. In other words, the experiences, ideas, and abilities that a person brings to any pursuit are entirely different than someone else’s.

That’s why writers should write novels, musicians should make music, and painters should paint. One person’s ideas and ways of doing things will always be different than someone else’s as far as the art and work are concerned. So, how do you set about following your dreams if you’re over 50?

1.     No Manual.

First, there’s no manual for achieving your dreams. What’s important is not so much as having a prescribed way of doing it. What’s essential is to have a clear idea of the goal, which comes with a lot of self-reflection. That could often be the most challenging part. It may take time to answer the question—what is it that you really want? You. Standing alone and separate from everyone else. You have to get real and honest with yourself.

2.     Quiet the Doubt.

Your mind may suggest to you that there’s no way you could change your life, maybe even entirely, if you’re over 50. This is where you have to quiet the doubt. So what you’ll need to do is figure out how to manage the negative chatter in your brain. It could be through mindfulness or immersing yourself in positivity. Whatever you choose, your brain’s neuroplasticity changes with your daily practice. And that’s essential for achieving your goals.

3.     Tell Others.

Even if you don’t have clarity on what you want to do, start to share it. You need to begin to test your strength. Inevitably, you may get push-back from family or friends. But, by telling others, you put it out into the universe. Also, the push-back allows you to test and perhaps even shape how you want to approach achieving your dreams. Again, it’s all in how you look at any negativity to your thoughts. It could serve to propel you or hinder you.

4.     Keep Moving.

Finally, keep moving. Here’s what those over 50 know; life doesn’t come easy. But that’s okay. It always boils down to your perspective and how you choose to see the hurdles that lie ahead. So, if you have a driving desire to do something, you’ve got to find a way. Use the well-earned wisdom to keep seeking new opportunities and ways to achieve the dream. The more you focus and keep moving toward the dream—no matter what happens—the higher the chances of achieving it.

In conclusion, remember the words of the great writer Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist when you doubt or think your dreams are impossible. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

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