I passed the 50 yard line a few years ago, earned my regular AARP mailings, and agree with Maxine 80% of the time. One of my children has graduated college and the other is in high school and I wasn’t young when I had them. My hair appears to be a blend of three shades drifting from dark brown to dark auburn to dark honey that is refreshed every six weeks to cover the real color (gray). I must choose my mascara very carefully lest it dot my drooping upper eyelids. The cosmetic industry does not make a product that can rid me of my crow’s feet.
My family is chock full of higher degrees. My husband has a bachelor’s, two master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. I have a cousin with a DPT after being grandfathered in with a master’s in physical therapy from Stanford in the 80’s. My mother and sister both have master’s degrees as do most of my cousins. All of my cousins have bachelors and many aunts and uncles have master’s degrees with a Juris Doctor thrown in for good measure. They all got them in their twenties, maybe early thirties at the latest. I started an MBA in the 90s and had to stop halfway through because of life and work and babies.
There is a restaurant that my husband and I frequent. The bartender is 22 and studying medical transcription so that she can get a good day job so that she can pay for a biology degree. She wants a career in biomedical research and in fact attended our county’s high school Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science completer program which is extremely competitive – only the top 12 students from each of the eight 1,200-student high schools get into the program – but her family didn’t have the money to send her to college.
On Saturday I walk. Across a stage. To get my Masters of Liberal Arts in writing (popular fiction). With my AARP card tucked away in my pocket. I know I will be up there with a lot of twenty-somethings and I also know I’ll likely be the oldest graduate up there. When I first thought about graduating, I wasn’t going to walk – 50 somethings don’t don a mortar board – but as the Ladies can attest, we worked our butts off in the Romance Writing Certificate program and I continued to do so in the rest of my courses. I deserve this. And we’re having a party.
Once I’ve graduated on Saturday, I will work on turning my 40,000-word project into a 100,000-word novel. I started writing fiction in 2009 and I have two and a half completed manuscripts that suck because I wrote them before I knew anything about craft. Maybe someday I’ll go back and fix them. But I keep writing because I like it (when I’m not banging my head on the keyboard). Someday, I would like to be published, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll keep writing because I like it.
I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. In a recent post, Jilly said to Do It Now because she realized life might sometimes be shorter than you’d planned. In a February post, Jeanne blogged about Getting Published (or not) and she is really close to that goal after righting for a lot of years. It took Christina Dodd ten years, two children and three completed manuscripts before her first novel was published. I saw Janet Evanovich speak a number of years ago and she said it took three years to write her first story and I can’t remember how many years to find a publisher for it. She almost quit. She’d said, “I’m done,” and got the call. The rest is history (and a huge bank account).
It’s never too late. Go forth and do something you really want to do regardless of whether you think you’re too old to do it or not. What do you want to do?