Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guest Post -- Is it Too Late? By Lee Silber


When you look at the list of old bands still on the road it makes you wonder, when are you too old to rock and roll?

Bruce Springsteen and his band performed at this year’s Super Bowl half-time show (and have a new album out) and he’s only five months away from turning 60. Other acts that are still successfully touring include the Eagles (all the key members are 60 or over), Jimmy Buffett is still going strong at age 62, and the Rolling Stones never stopped rockin’ even though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 65. Does that make you feel old? Think about this, John Bonham and Ringo Starr’s sons are drummers with the latest versions of Led Zeppelin and the Who.

What does this mean for us? Well, for one thing, 60 really is the new 40 when it comes to age. Also, it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Many people were hanging onto a job they really didn’t like because it paid the bills. Then, all of a sudden that job is gone. Disaster, right? Not necessarily. This could be your your “excuse” to do what you have always wanted to do for a living. The biggest reason people don’t go after their dream job, become their own boss, or try something new is they think it’s too late. It’s not.

Consider this, Actor Danny Aiello (Moonstruck) didn’t start acting until he was 40. Also at the age of 40—and after years of doubling for Roy Rogers, Gary Copper, and other stars as a stuntman—Richard Farnsworth (The Natural) became an actor himself—with great success. Peg Phillips retired as an accountant at age 60 and then went into acting, co-starring in two successful television series, Northern Exposure and 7th Heaven. How about the late Ronald Reagan, the actor didn’t enter politics until he was elected the Governor of California at age 55, and remains the oldest person ever to serve as President of the United States. Still not convinced? There tons of other examples of people either switching careers or making a name for themselves later in life. Harriet Huntington Doerr published her first novel (Stones For Ibarra) at the age of 74, and won that year’s National Book Award.

After a string of unsuccessful other careers, Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and his novel The Big Sleep at 51. Already a successful insurance company executive, Poet Wallace Stevens pursued his passion for poetry seriously later ion life and won a Pulitzer Prize at the age of 76. Colonel Sanders (KFC) and Ray Kroc (McDonald’s) were both over 60 when their businesses began to boom. Singer Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer and didn’t release his first record until he was 34. Pro-Bowl and MVP quarterback Kurt Warner didn’t enter NFL the until he was 28 (that’s when many players are hanging up their cleats).

For each of the above examples there was a different reason for their decision to pursue their passion. Some were fired first (Raymond Chandler), others were waiting for the right opportunity to jump in (Ray Kroc), and still others were just not given their shot until they proved themselves at lower levels (Kurt Warner).

Whatever the reason, at some point a door opens with an opportunity to go for your ultimate goal, and this may be one of those times. It’s up to you to walk through it. On the other side may be immense success, total fulfillment, or both. If your reason for not taking that step is you are too old, I think we can all agree that’s not the issue.

LEE SILBER is the award-winning author of 14 books including "Rock To Riches" and "Organizing From The Right Side Of The Brain". To learn more about Lee go to http: //



Blogger Liimu said...


I love this. Just what I needed to read tonight. I'm off to audition for the Wiz in NYC and I need all the encouragement I can find that at 39, it's not too late for me to pursue this dream.

Thank you.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Nicole Feliciano said...

Lovely, thoughtful post. I launched my writing career at 34. I love this next chapter of life!

12:09 PM  

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