We have all grown up with ideas about the ideal age to do something or be someone. Every society and every culture has it’s own unwritten time stipulations on roles to be played, careers to be chosen and expertise to be attained. If you decide to defy what the majority thinks, there is in all probability a bumpy ride ahead to reach your goals and live your dream. But, what is important to remember is that it is your life and society doesn’t care whether you are happy with the life you are living or not. So why worry about how ‘people’ are going to react? After all, their impressions aren’t going to bring us any closer to the way we want our life to look!
A few ordinary people who believed in themselves to achieve the extraordinary – live your dream
Artist Grandma Moses:
American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses began her successful career in arts at the beautiful age of 78. She won many awards, two honorary doctoral degrees as well as creating financially viable art pieces. In 30 years, she created over 1500 canvas arts. A childhood filled with hardships, necessity of earning livelihood at an early age and family obligations later on in life left no time for her to pursue her childhood passion for painting. An appreciative and kind employer as well as doing picture embroidery later on kept her creativity flowing. She was named “young woman of the year” by Mademoiselle magazine at the age of 88. Age is after all only a number, especially for those who believe in their dreams and in themselves.
She wrote the American folk classic ‘Freight Train’ when she was only 12 years old. But, she features here because it wasn’t until she was in her 60s that she could follow her dream and perform in public. She was so intent upon following her passion that she taught herself to play the guitar. Being left-handed and unguided, she played it the other way round – fingers for bass and harmony, and thumb for melody. Nothing was strong enough to stop this go-getter with melody in her soul. She made a raving success of it too by winning some major awards and being one of the most famous songwriters in the 1950s and 60s – a time of American folk revival.
This legendary musician fought against seemingly insurmountable odds with deafness, depression and on-stage musical disaster in front of a huge audience to be able to do what his heart desired. After going essentially deaf (severe tinnitus), he wanted to end his life. But, retrospection and love for his art brought him back from the brink. Though he never performed in public after a musical fiasco in front of a large audience, he found a different way to keep following his dream. His ingenuity and love for music came out during this terrible time. Having gone almost deaf, to hear what he was creating, he connected a metal rod to the piano and bit on the other end with his teeth. This idea was so advanced that even today, headphones based on this technique are available to the exclusive few. No conventional notion or life hurdle could stop him from pursuing his passion. Albeit, en route he created history by doing some seemingly impossible and miraculous acts.
This writer of one of the best selling book series in history is also a glaring example of success in the absence of conventional tools to live your dream. Joanne Rowling (her real name) faced a plethora of seeming impossibilities from being broke, clinically depressed with suicidal thoughts, single-handedly bringing up an infant daughter on state benefit to being rejected by at least 12 publishers. She plodded on and channelled all her hardships, heartbreaks and dark thoughts into her writing, eventually becoming one of the best selling authors in history. Passion and determination can overcome any hurdle thrown by life. There is no fixed rule or fixed age for making our dreams come true.
To live your dream doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring our other responsibilities, duties, obligations or must-dos. A very good example is German gymnast Johanna Quaas who took up gymnastics professionally at the unconventional age of 56. Due to family obligations first with kids and then grandkids, she couldn’t practice professionally what her heart desired. But, she found a way of still being connected by working as a PE teacher. A floor-and-beam routine in Italy in 2012 got her Guinness Record certified as the oldest gymnast. When asked at the age of 86 (while still actively competing as a gymnast) whether age proves to be a hindrance for her, she replied, “No, absolutely not. If you stick with it, you can definitely carry on at a high age. I’d like to still be competing when I’m 90.”
This young-at-heart Japanese lady decided to try out a photography course for beginners by her son. Ten years later, she had her solo exhibition at a Japanese gallery and has been unstoppable since. Her fun and quirky self portraits are now famous worldwide. After discovering her passion at the unconventional age of 72, she has been clicking and even editing her photos for the last 17 years. Even though technology usually isn’t thought to be the forte of the elderly, she has been proving everyone wrong in a delightfully creative way.
If you think about it, the people who initially achieved greatness in any field were actually the leaders. The followers simply accepted their qualities as benchmark for eligibility. If you believe in yourself, then you have the power to break moulds and create new benchmarks. Ultimately, it all trickles down to the fact – it is only you and the intensity of belief in yourself that decides the expiry date of your dreams. So step up and live your dream!
What are you passionate about? Are you still in doubt whether the efforts would be worthwhile? Just believe in yourself and take the first step, the rest will all fall into place eventually.
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