How many times have you said to yourself, “If I could just (fill in the blank), then life would feel happier and more fulfilling,” but something held you back?
Get inspired by the following women for switching career paths or making major life changes at ages when they were supposed to have everything “all figured out” (and who really does, anyway?). Read their advice for some reinvention inspiration and find a new sense of satisfaction in your own life.
1. From Fantasies To Reality
Diana Cosby, 51, transitioned from being a naval officer to a novelist after returning to her lifelong dream of being a writer. “My military training taught me to dream big, but also to break down goals into a series of bite-size steps,” Cosby says. “Since churning out an entire novel sounded terrifying, I focused on one smaller, more feasible goal: Write a few pages a day. It’s not as overwhelming.”
Cosby’s advice: Find mentors. “Many writers helped me along the way, like Shirley Rogerson. She’d just published her first romance novel when I met her, and we became fast friends. I asked her to critique the book I was writing, and I did the same for her. You can use local groups and your own social network to connect with people who do what you dream of doing. Pick their brain, but make sure to offer something in return.”
2. A Clean Slate
Mary Price, 69, became a substance-abuse counselor after getting clean and going back to school. “I didn’t always get 100 percent, but I always passed,” says Price, who graduated with an 87 average. “Sometimes good enough is good enough.”
Price’s advice: Pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself on each small victory, whether it’s finishing your homework or passing a test. “While I was in school, each time I looked in the mirror, I felt prouder and prouder of my accomplishments.”
3. Music For The Soul
Sharon Jones, 54, worked odd jobs until she made her dream of singing professionally come true. “My career involved years of long hours and little sleep. Even now, the grueling tours can be exhausting,” Jones says. “It’s hard work, but performing is what I love to do. I say, ‘Look, I’m 54 years old; I don’t have much time.’ My philosophy: Rather than looking at age as a drawback, use it as an incentive to roll up your sleeves.”
Jones’s advice: When all else fails, do it yourself. “If others aren’t willing to help you, find a way to get there on your own. I knew I’d have to make my own success. So I quit looking to major record labels and instead maneuvered around them to help build an independent label—one that allows me to shine.”
4. Starting Up Solo
Jackie Silverman, 56, was in charge of a geriatric program for a social service agency—leaving her with health problems and a depression battle—before she became the founder and former executive director of New Orleans Women’s Shelter.
Silverman’s Advice: Everyone has the potential to achieve something great. “I always thought that extraordinary things were accomplished by extraordinary people,” Jackie says. “Now I know that they’re accomplished by ordinary people who’ve stepped up.” Keep going, she says. “When the naysayers tell you it can’t be done, just smile and work harder.”
5. A Helping Hand
Barbara E. Joe, 73, joined Peace Corps after 40 years of wanting to do so. “There were always plenty of reasons to postpone, but eventually I realized that pursuing a dream is worth the time,” Joe says. “After so many years thinking about it, I knew I had to put up or shut up.”
Joe’s advice: You can reinvent yourself, no matter what your age. Peace Corps has no age maximum. In fact, an 85-year-old woman is currently serving in Morocco! “To anyone who dares suggest that volunteering is for the young, I say, as long as you’re breathing, it’s not too late to try something new. Don’t save your bucket list for later. Start crossing off your lifetime to-do’s now.
People who don’t reinvent themselves and make major changes in their lives are stagnant, dull and never grow. Don’t ever let ANYONE tell you that you can’t reinvent your life to be a much better one than it already is. Coco Chanel didn’t like her life, so she reinvented it to be what she wanted it to be and to be with the men she wanted to be with at the time that SHE wanted THEM. Go after what you want. If you don’t get it the first or second time, you WILL eventually get it. Remember, it is a numbers game! Coco Chanel LIVED her life for herself according to her own rules and you can too! 🙂