I was shopping in a bookstore recently when I overheard a man complaining about turning 50. His wife tried her best to reassure him that 50 was an incredible milestone, one that he would remember forever. But, her assurances fell on deaf ears.
He started complaining about his regrets, his gray hair and the fact that he had packed on quite a few pounds since he and his wife met. Again, the wife tried to tenderly reassure him that he still “had it” and that she was proud of the man he had become. But, he wasn’t moved.
I never intervene in people’s private conversations, but I felt something tugging at me to speak up.
“Your wife is right, you know. Fifty is an incredible milestone and you should feel privileged to make it there. My brother died at 22. He is forever locked in his youth. No gray hairs. No protruding stomach, nothing. He would have turned 50 last December. I would give anything to have him here with what you’ve got,” I said.
I had his full, undivided attention. His wife, who stood inches away from me, quietly ingested every word that spilled from my lips.
I then reminded the gentleman that some of the greatest people who walked this Earth have had the most spectacular second acts and that he would be no different.
You’re Not Too Old For A Second Act
We stood in that Barnes & Noble bookstore chatting for close to an hour about his life and the dreams he had for himself that he failed to fulfil. I then asked one simple question: what’s stopping you?
He started to laugh and replied, “nothing, I guess. Well . . . I guess it’s just too late. I’m old.”
This man stood at the precipice of one of the greatest milestones in his life, regretting the dreams he had for himself and it was all because he thought he was too old.
We ended our chat and he insisted we hug (even in a Covid-19 environment). I couldn’t resist. Maybe something I said resonated with him. I honestly believe God orchestrated this meeting.
But, his story is not unusual. Every single one of us has a desire in our hearts that we have either shared or withheld from the world and when it doesn’t come to pass, we shrug our shoulders and say maybe it wasn’t meant to be because if it were, it would have happened by now.
You Ain’t Past Nothing ‘Til You’re Dead
As long as there’s life in you, it’s not too late. You have to trust and believe that everything is in your reach until you exhale your final breath.
And just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It may just mean that it’s about to happen.
1. What You Can Do To Start Your Life Over
If you want to look ahead, the first thing you’re going to have to do is stop looking backwards. Forget about the past.
You can’t get your old job back, your loved one or restore a failed relationship, but you can focus on getting a new, better career and forge new relationships.
The past is important, but it’s not the most important thing in your life. You second act holds more weight because it’s what’s going to carry you through.
Start making plans and set goals for the future. Chances are those things of the past were holding you back from the best version of yourself.
The plans don’t have to be elaborate at first. They can be as simple as taking a solo trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit with nothing more than a camera and your wallet.
It could also be moving to a new city for a fresh start.
2. Don’t Talk Negatively About And To Yourself
We are our worst critics and we beat ourselves up in unimaginable ways.
But, we need to use that same energy to speak life, power, success and happiness into our lives. Don’t say you won’t get married again, have children or find another friend like the one you gave up. Those things have left your life for a reason. Speak positively over your circumstances and watch your spirits lift and your life change.
3. Remember Your Life Lessons And Try Not Repeat Past Mistakes
If you spent years in financial ruin and you manage to pull yourself out of that and finally get on the right track, then don’t return to the things that broke you. A big part of starting over in life is abandoning habits that got you stuck in the first place.
4. Give Yourself Some Credit, Dammit!
You may think you’re a failure, but you’d be surprised at the number of people watching you who wish that they were in your position. I don’t care how bad you think you have it, someone has it worse.
I, for one, give lots of weight to the great things that I do. Even when life doesn’t go my way, I remember all of the incredible successes that I’ve had in my short life. That helps to keep me on track.
I also have trusted family members and friends who help me snap out of funk when I’m feeling down.
By the way, success looks different to different people.
It’s not always about money, houses and cars. I can bet you a billion dollars that the ailing millionaire wishes he or she could get up and go about their day without needing some difficult-to-pronounce medication or injection. They look at their not-so-wealthy counterpart and wish they, too, had excellent health. So, don’t think success is all about money.
As you go about your day I hope that you carry these nine words with you this week: it’s not too late to start your life over.
This Bahamian Gyal
Mechelle McDonald says
👏🏾👏🏾 So well said and inspiring! I love how your words restored and ignited a sense of hope in him to pursue his dreams. You touched a life that day 💕 and I’m sure he’s forever grateful.
Rogan Smith says
Thank you so much, Mechelle. You know something? It’s amazing how a stranger’s words can carry so much weight, isn’t it? His wife was telling him all the right things, but I guess he figured she was just being kind because she was his wife. I am glad I intervened that day. Thanks so much for reading!
I truly believe this… thank you ❤️🤗
Rogan Smith says
You are most welcome, Lithera. It’s never too late.
Cee Brown says
Life starts at…well, I have been saying this since I was 21. I make every year, especially every decade count. Every decade has a goal to run toward. You have life…look around, most of your peers and classmates are gone. Give thanks. 50 was my travel year. The pandemic changed that. But I am looking at 51 and re-planning traveling. So my take, don’t worry about what you have not achieved. You still have time. Even rich people have not done it all.
Rogan Smith says
Whew…now, that’s powerful. You just said a word. Even RICH people have not done it all. So true. I think it’s normal to experience some level of fear and to throw our hands in the air from time to time and say, it’s too late. But, like I said…until you exhale your last breath, it ain’t over. Thanks so much for reading.
Rochelle Thomoson-Walker says
He clearly doesn’t understand (or chooses not to understand) that a dream deferred is NOT a dream denied. I hope he sees the error in his thoughts and begins to reach for those things he missed out on. 50 is just the beginning of what could be an awesome era for him.
Rogan Smith says
Rochelle…you are dropping gems. A dream deferred is NOT a dream denied. I hope he walked away with something. I believe a seed was planted. Life has so much in store for him. Thanks for reading!