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,


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

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