Is it ever too late to pursue a dream? In a culture obsessed with youth – being younger, looking younger etc. – we often forget that we’re learning throughout our entire lives. Louise Hay once said that ’49 is the infancy of a new life’ and she and countless others are great examples of people who continued to evolve and contribute to the world well beyond what most of us expect to in our own lives.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Louise’s story, it’s pretty amazing. She grew up in an abusive home and circumstances forced her to drop out of school, never receiving her High School Diploma. Her marriage of 14 years ended when her husband at the time left her for another woman. She was left alone, with little education and few options to support herself.
At this time in her life, she became involve in a local church and here discovered her passion for helping others and began to share her beliefs about the power of positive affirmations. As she was doing this, she was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and chose a wholistic approach to treatment, forgoing medical recommendations of the time. Although controversial, her approach was successful and through a variety of modalities, including positive affirmations, she was able to eliminate the disease from her life.
At the same time, she became involved very early on in the AIDS crisis, forming a local support group that quickly gained in popularity. She also published her first book, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ to make her teachings around affirmations accessible to a larger audience. Her fledgling publishing company also started round this time – all when Louise was in her mid 50’s.
At 62, she was propelled into the national spotlight by appearing on several popular talk shows to talk about her work with AIDS patients. A week later, her first book was a bestseller. Her speaking and writing career skyrocketed from there and she flourished until her death at 90.
I had the opportunity to meet Louise several times and she was one of those people who inspire you by her own actions. In her 70’s and 80’s she was exploring new interests like painting and yoga and often said that she would be learning up until the day she left the planet. She lived the example that it is never too late and even when confronted with challenging circumstances, you can still pursue your dreams.
What is it that you would love to do, but are holding back from? Pursuing a dream doesn’t mean that we have to become the best at it. If you love to cook and want to learn more, take a cooking class – it doesn’t mean you have to become a world-famous chef. If you love economics and want to learn more about the subject, go ahead. Your interest and curiosity don’t have to lead you to becoming a Harvard professor.
Sometimes our dreams will change the direction of our life and career, but that all depends on the dream. Pursuing the things that interest and inspire us is what nourishes the soul. Your dreams are meant to be lived, not tucked away safely because you feel it’s too late. It’s never too late to allow more of yourself out into the world. As Louise Hay is famous for saying, ‘If an abused child with no education can do it, so can you’. And she’s right, you can. So dream, explore and live the life you really want.