The late, great Zen poet Leonard Cohen was well into his 30’s when he started writing songs. The music scene, at the time, was dominated by youngsters like Bob Dylan and The Beatles. Cohen, however never allowed the naysayers of the music industry to convince him he was too old, or too late to the party. And even though he started “late”, it would be another 15 years before he wrote his most popular song, Hallelujah.
As we cross into middle age, it’s easy to get lost in the haze of young Hollywood starlets and the Forbes 30 under 30 lists. The outside world and our own insecurities will tell us that the window of fame and fortune has closed. Not only is this not true, but with age comes new advantages.
With age comes perspective. Typical insecurities that spurn the youth — and come with fame — are usually handled with more grace by those with more life experience. With each decade, we learn more about ourselves, and how little other people’s opinions actually matter.
There’s a bittersweet truth in the sentiment, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
These words aren’t meant to patronize. It’s true that as we get older, certain opportunities are no longer an option. Even as a relatively young 31-year-old, I know I won’t be playing in the majors or be next to walk on the moon.
However, it’s never too late develop, practice, and share the gift of creativity with ourselves and the world.
If you need more convincing, here’s a quick list of late bloomers that lived full lives before creating masterpieces:
- Mark Twain published his first book at 41.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the first Little House on The Prairie novel at 65.
- Vera Wang didn’t begin designing dresses until she was 39.
- JRR Tolkien started writing The Lord of Rings at age 45.
- Martha Stewart wrote her first book at 41 yet didn’t find stardom until 7 years after.
- Singer Sheryl Crow released her first album at 32 (which was considered quite late for a female artist in the 90s)
- Ray Croc blew out the candles on his 50th birthday cake days before discovering the McDonald brothers.
- Legendary chef Julia Child became a household name at 51.
- Morgan Freeman got his first movie role at 57.
The list goes on an on…
Creativity is ageless.