I’m so old. I’m so very old to even consider starting school again. By the time I finish, I’ll be nearly 40, and by the time I can independently practice I will be 40. Can I even begin to start a new career in mid-life?
Umm…yeah! The answer is a resounding yes.
It was me who asked those questions a few years ago as I started my masters program. I remember mentally grabbing my shoulders and shaking myself until my brain rattled the correct answer out of my mouth.
Yes. Yes, you can do this and so much more. Why would you ever think otherwise?!
I pondered that. I don’t know what caused me to think I couldn’t do it, or shouldn’t do it because of my age. And friends, I wasn’t even old. I’m still not old. I started graduate school at the young age (not so young, but don’t you tell me any different) of 34. I finished the program at 37.
You know what I found out? My degree isn’t any less valid than someone who went straight through and finished at 23. We all suffer from impostor syndrome at some point, and things are constantly changing, which requires us to re-learn things or learn something completely in contrast to what we were originally taught.
I started over at 32 when I got divorced. I had little to nothing, but I figured it out. My kids thrived and we never went hungry.
Starting over, or starting late doesn’t mean that you are behind others your age. It means that you are on time for your own time line. Success is still success no matter what age it’s reached. What’s successful to you may not be what’s successful for other people, and vise versa.
Every transition is scary. Every single one. Do you remember the first time you learned how to ride a bike, drive a car, transitioned from grade school to middle school, then high school?
Those things were scary because it was new to you. That fear doesn’t go away because you’re older. The only difference now is, as fully functioning adults with responsibilities, we are more likely to talk ourselves out of it.
You want to go back to school, but the loans. You want to start a business, but you have bad credit. You want to ask for a divorce, but you’ve been a stay at home mom for 10 years. You want to ask for that promotion, but Dave will probably get it so you just sit quietly.
All of these scenarios are terrifying, but life changing. They all have solutions that you have the power to figure out. Making excuses for things to stay the same is one of the easiest things our brains can do. Finding the reasons to do the thing that scares you regardless of fear, and finding a way to accomplish it, that’s hard.
That takes an amount of courage that an eager 16 year old has when demanding their parents teach them to drive. That’s the amount of fearlessness it took that 18 year old to go to college across the country from their parents and family.
That person is still in there. They’re just older, and a little more cautious of the jump, but jump my friends. You’ll be glad you did.