21st June 2018
In a blog based on an extract from her book “Live a Life You Love” life coach Monica Castenetto explains why it’s never too late to bring about positive change in your life:
Today, more and more people are living to be a hundred. That’s a lot more life than people had even just a century ago! Why not make the most of that extra time by spending it on meaningful pursuits?
Many of my clients are in their forties and fifties. They’ve lived a while, been through ups and downs, and know themselves better now. They’ve done the rat-race, want to start looking beyond it and to build a life that feels truly right for them. They want to savour life and not rush through it, live purposefully, do something meaningful and give back.
I have clients in their sixties too. They see retirement looming, and yes, they want to slow down. Yet they feel they’re too young for a comfortable armchair existence, hidden away from the world. They still have a contribution to make.
The world is full of examples of people re-inventing themselves in later life. Activist Maggie Kuhn founded the Gray Panthers movement when forced into retirement at 65. She said that older people constitute America’s biggest untapped and undervalued human energy source. Holocaust survivor Frieda Lefeber started painting at 76, earned her Fine Arts Certificate at 83, and celebrated her 100th birthday with her first solo art exhibition in 2015.
Closer to home, London entrepreneur Trisha Cusden was in her sixties when she founded a business of pro-age make-up products, to celebrate the beauty of older women rather than fretting about the wrinkles. And a good friend of mine was well into her fifties when she ‘upped sticks’ from Germany, and moved to London with her husband (who was in his seventies) to start a new job at an international publishing company. A year later, she was made redundant and successfully switched to freelancing in the same industry.
I myself gained a professional qualification in Contemporary Dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire when I was 36 – one of the best things I ever did in my life. 97% of my fellow students were at least ten years younger than me, but one of them was 72 years old – and he was a sought-after, international performer!
You might be feeling too old, but the fact is you’re likely to be around for a whole lot longer! The responsibility for how you spend that time is yours. Granted, we’re not all meant to be activists, entrepreneurs, and brilliantly talented artists. Nor are we all meant to make huge, sweeping changes to our lives. But if you’re fed up with your life, it’s only ever too late to make changes for the better if you decide it is.
Even if you don’t feel too old, you might still feel that you have left it too long and have now missed the boat, or have made a mistake from which you cannot recover. But is this really true? Ask yourself:
What if you could start afresh at any time in your life?
What if you could catch that boat? Or catch the next one? Or another one altogether?
And what if you could make amends for your mistake? Or simply forgive yourself and move on?At the end of our lives we’ll probably regret more what we didn’t do than what we did. As Caroline Myss says, “Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been, had you not been afraid to live it?”
Sure, sometimes we leave things a bit late, or make seemingly irrecoverable mistakes. Sometimes life gets in the way. But your dreams don’t have a shelf-life. And if one route ends in a cul-de-sac, you can always look for another route and try again – for as long as you’re alive
If you’re still not convinced, here’s Richard Bach’s test (from his book Illusions, Dell, 1977) to find out whether your mission on earth is finished – “If you’re alive, it isn’t”.
Check out Monica’s book for more advice on bringing about change in your life.