It’s Never Too Late To Be Great!

by Jen Slayden on · 20 comments

Iron­i­cally, I sit down to write this arti­cle on the evening of my birth­day. Each pass­ing year I become a lit­tle more reflec­tive when May 1st comes around, per­haps because I am more aware of how quickly this car­ni­val ride of life starts spinning.

At times, a deep sense of grat­i­tude pen­e­trates through mem­o­ries of chal­lenges and pain. For in aging I gain the abil­ity to clear the super­fi­cial flow that has some­times been my life, and real­ize that rela­tion­ships, fam­ily, and liv­ing a mean­ing­ful life of pur­pose and har­mony are really what I want.

But other times I have a pen­e­trat­ing sense of urgency:

I need to hurry up and fig­ure out how to cross that off my bucket list before I am too old!

Do you ever have that feel­ing on your birthday?

So the idea of awak­en­ing to my own great­ness is one I pon­der a lit­tle more seri­ously each birth­day. In terms of years, I am turn­ing 44. When I looked up the aver­age lifes­pan of a white, non-smoking female in the USA, the aver­age age is around 81 years old. Now I am not say­ing that I will live to be 81. That isn’t a deci­sion I am ulti­mately in con­trol of. But it IS inter­est­ing to look at my life as barely over half over.

There have been amaz­ing exam­ples in his­tory of peo­ple com­ing into their great­ness later in life. Anna Mary Robert­son Moses (known as Grandma Moses) started paint­ing in her sev­en­ties and pro­duced over 1600 paint­ings in the next three decades. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write her first novel until the age of 65, and ended up writ­ing one of the most beloved series of books of all times: Lit­tle House on the Prairie. And then there was Ronald Regan, who of course had a suc­cess­ful career as an actor, but didn’t hold pub­lic office until he turned 55 years old.

What does all this mean to me? And to YOU?

We all have our gifts, our tal­ents. I know that some­times I box myself in to the life that I think I am sup­posed to lead, or that some­one else may think is right for me. But who’s to say that I can­not con­tinue to explore the great­ness that may be lying dor­mant inside? And the par­tic­u­lar great­ness that I awake to may be some­thing that brings my pas­sion for har­mony, love, and a good life more present to me than any­thing I may have expe­ri­enced to date?

The other piece to con­tem­plate, friends, is that great­ness often times is a col­lab­o­ra­tive event. This past week­end I had the great for­tune to be called in to play for a sym­phony up north, who needed a few more cel­lists. At first I hes­i­tated, for it had been a while since I had per­formed a sym­phony con­cert. But I knew that by com­mit­ting to play I would be account­able to help the orches­tra sound their best. For it is in everybody’s best inter­est to show up in spirit and energy to make the whole sym­phony sing.

And it was a beau­ti­ful time, shar­ing that col­lab­o­ra­tion of great­ness. Life is much like that, when I step up to the plate, so do those around me.

Per­haps awak­en­ing to our great­ness is sim­ply a segue to awak­en­ing great­ness in our neigh­bor­hoods, our com­mu­ni­ties and our world.

So, when I wake up tomor­row, one year older, and hope­fully a lit­tle wiser, I will remem­ber this les­son from the Jun­gle. Be great. Be open to being great, no mat­ter what your age, your abil­ity, or your past his­tory. It is never, ever, too late to enjoy this car­ni­val ride!

In Har­mony,

Jen


by Jen Slay­den

Jen Slay­den finds her har­mony in West­ern Mon­tana with her hus­band Mark, their three kids, and an out­door lov­ing black lab named Cody. Stop by and check out her life in music, words, and edu­ca­tion at Find Your Har­mony.
Jen Slayden
View all posts by Jen Slay­den

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy at Zen Mama May 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I loved this post Jen! What a wonderful day to have your birthday on, too. I, too, reflect on my birthday about life, how much has been lived and what is to come. The “kid years” are coming to an end for me and the writing years (that I looked forward to as a child) seem to be here. And who knows what else?? I plan to live to 113 years old so that I can see the tricentennial! Congratulations on playing in the orchestra, too. I’m sure you were great!!
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Find Your Harmony May 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Hi Betsy!
I love that you plan on living until 113! And I hopefully will too (given a sharp mind anyway!). So I can’t wait to see what comes next from you. You have so much talent and life experience and wisdom in what you write!
And thanks for the shout out. The orchestra was really great, and made me realize how much I have missed that intellectual challenge the last few years. If there was only one extra day a week, right? (Sigh!)
Thanks for being here, friend!
IN HARMONY,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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Sheila Burke May 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Well happy birthday ( again, lol) and all I can say is #1 get rid of “the box” :) and #2 Keep your arms and legs inside until the ride comes to a complete stop. Enjoy the ride! Love ya!
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Find Your Harmony May 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Ha! Yes, I think my box just was sometimes built of steel, so it is a little harder to get out of! But I am learning:)

Thanks Sheila. You always make me smile!
Love and HARMONY,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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Galen Pearl May 5, 2012 at 12:00 am

Happy Birthday! As I get older, I feel much freer to do things I would not have done earlier. I got my black belt in taekwondo just before my 60th birthday. Go for the gusto!
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Find Your Harmony May 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Galen,
Wow! I have always wanted to do taekwondo. Now perhaps I can celebrate that at 60 as well! Congrats to you, and thanks for your voice here.
In Harmony,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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Jody - Fit at 54 May 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Happy birthday! A great post & one I needed today! Thank you!
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Find Your Harmony May 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thank you Jody! I am glad that you enjoyed this. And I always enjoy having you here and reading your comments. SO thank you for sharing with me:)
In Harmony,
Jen
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Cathy | Treatment Talk May 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Hi Jen,

Happy birthday!! Wonderful reflection in your post. There are many late bloomers and personally I believe people live longer when they are engaged in life. I stopped teaching almost 10 years ago and was just free for a few years. I loved it, but I felt something was missing in my life, so I decided to start writing. It has helped me in so many ways, but mainly it gave me something to be enthused about and gave me a feeling of purpose.
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Re-Awakening: A New Guided Meditation Program That Can Change Your LifeMy Profile

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Find Your Harmony May 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Hi Cathy,
I agree with you about being engaged in life leading to more longevity. And I love how you found new creativity after teaching! Or I should say as an EXTENTION of teaching. Teachers are the most creative and wonderfully motivated people I know! So having had that background makes your writing more alluring. I love your blog, and appreciate you coming here to read my perspective.
Here’s to many many more years of creativity and greatness!
In Harmony,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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gklof May 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Love.

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David Stevens May 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Absolutely,
I’m a Mid Life fanatic…..always strive to do great things…and more of them…NOW
Thankyou for this Jen
be good to yourself
David
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Find Your Harmony May 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

David, I LOVE this…”a Mid-Life fanatic!” Hope you don’t mind, I am going to start using that phrase! What a great way to look at life!
Thanks for being here, and I continue, and will be good to myself:) You do the same,
In Harmony,
Jen
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Jon Mertz May 7, 2012 at 6:27 am

Happy Birthday, Jen! I just read this weekend, somewhere, that many people find their purpose and accelerate in their 40s and 50s. We are just getting warmed up! Congrats, and keep doing it! Jon
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Find Your Harmony May 7, 2012 at 9:16 am

Jon,
Just getting warmed up…INDEED! I would love to know the name of the article you read. I enjoy all the affirmation that I can get that we are just getting better and better!
May you have a week filled with
HARMONY,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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Laura May 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

“But other times I have a pen­e­trat­ing sense of urgency” – you are wonderfully describing my feelings here. Loving your choice of words here. I fear the time, when I finally can do things from my things-to-do-before-i-die list, maybe I am going to be too old for doing things by the time I have time/money for them. Happy birthday!
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Find Your Harmony May 7, 2012 at 9:18 am

Laura,
I am glad this resonated with you. It is a tricky irony that time and money thing, isn’t it? RIght now I am in the middle of raising kids, working, juggling. But then I see friends who are elderly, have spent all that time raising kids, working, and juggling, but become ill after retirement, or broke and cannot do what they set out to do. All the more reason to find ways to do what we love every day we are blessed with:)
Thanks for being here, Laura….
In Harmony,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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rob white May 7, 2012 at 8:33 am

Wonderful message, Jen. And may is the perfect month to remember our potential to continually blossom. The Authentic Self is not interested in the self imposed limits of age. When it comes to the evolution of the human species, we all have our roles to play. We play our roles well when we make a conscious effort to exceed our typical self. This requires choosing the path of higher liberty by overreaching our usual ways.
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Find Your Harmony May 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Rob, I love this explanation! What encouraging words to reflect on….specifically that we have the CHOICE about how we come into our potential. Here’s to overreaching our usual ways! And, I must say, that actually seems easier as I age!
Thanks for your reflection and addition to this discussion, Rob.
In Harmony,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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Claire May 7, 2012 at 9:33 am

The Authen­tic Self is not inter­ested in the self imposed lim­its of age. When it comes to the evo­lu­tion of the human species, we all have our roles to play.

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