Angela Alvarez wins grammy at 95 never too late

Never Too Late: Are you Yearning to Try Something New?

Angela Alvarez dreamed of being a professional composer and singer since she was a little girl. But her father wouldn’t allow it. Last year, at age 95, Alvarez won a Latin Grammy for ‘Best New Artist.’ It’s never too late to pivot towards your dreams and try something new.

To those who have not fulfilled their dream, although life is difficult, there is always a way out, and with faith and love you can achieve it. I promise you, it’s never too late.

-Angela Alvarez

No Regrets

I spent the last 25 years raising a family and managing an international life with frequent moves. It certainly wasn’t what I had originally planned. As a girl, I was dead set on being a “rich businesswoman.” I was absolutely not going to stay at home. With lots of education under my belt and solid job offers on the table, everything was going according to plan.

However, as my life circumstances changed, my priorities and direction changed too. What was viewed by some as a risky step backwards, I simply considered myself on a new starting block–this time in Russia. Now, daily challenges were elementary things like purchasing a ticket for the bus. But it didn’t matter, because I was happy and understood the need to grow in a different direction. I pivoted–the best decision of my life, and I’ve never regretted it.

never too late first day in russia
July 1996: Our first day in Moscow: my biggest pivot!

Steve’s Wise Words

I feel like it’s that time again. Time for another pivot. Barreling towards empty-nester status, I’ve been feeling the need for something new for a while. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog.

As I outlined in an earlier post, My Year of Discovery, Steve, a friend of mine who is a leadership coach for CEOs, gave me some valuable advice on how to figure out the next step:

Think of your dream job. Then work backwards to the beginning and start there.

As Steve explained to me, it’s not about getting the dream job. It’s about discovering what you love, where your passion lies. The process will be enjoyable–no matter where you are in it.

Incremental Steps to Realizing A Dream

Steve’s words are not exclusive to a change in your career. And trying something new doesn’t have to upend your life. Even pursuing goals and dreams with incremental changes is impactful.

  • Have you always dreamed of running a marathon? Start the process with a 5K.
  • Always wanted to be a fashion designer but can’t afford a sewing machine? Take a sewing class at a local shop.
  • Would love to be a professional photographer? Start an Instagram account with one picture a day using your phone.
  • Want to perform on Broadway but have never acted? Volunteer backstage at your local theater.

Reframing the Challenge

Trying something new isn’t easy, especially when it’s something that is out of your norm. We have developed ideas about ourselves–a story per se–that place limitations on us.

“I can’t dance. I don’t have rhythm.”  Or “I can’t become a doctor. I’m too old to start.” Or “I’ll never be a professional singer. I’m in my 90’s!”

But what if it’s constantly at the back of your mind, like Angela Alvarez’s aspirations? What’s the harm in trying?

It’s Never Too Late to Be Kind to Yourself

Taking Steve’s advice, we can step backwards from our dreams and start from a place that is realistic for us and our current situation.

It’s not easy taking risks, pushing our limits to grow in new ways. Failure is hard and humbling. My natural inclination is to try to control and perfect. I expect to excel. These qualities lend to a  fear of failure and risk aversion. So, yes, it’s difficult for me to start something new too.

That’s why it’s so important to be kind to yourself. Allowing yourself to make mistakes is the way we grow. We fail, we learn, we try again.

What’s Next?

I’m working my way up the ladder, following my passion, exploring kindness and positive psychology. Each step has been a push: learning to navigate social media, launching my website, publishing my writing. It has been exhilarating and sometimes humbling, but when I look back, I am proud of how far I have come. I’m happy that I’m trying.

My most recent step has been enrolling in The Flourishing Center’s Applied Positive Psychology Program. The content is fascinating, but even more importantly, creating new connections with others aligned with my passion has been exhilarating.

On the first day of class, we introduced ourselves and explained why we chose the program. One of my classmates particularly impressed me when she said, “I’m 74 years old and I’ve become a widow for the second time. That chapter in my life has passed, and I find myself asking – what’s next?”

Taking Inspiration from Others

Need a little more inspiration? Here are a few more people who dared to pivot late in life.

1. Vera Wang designed her first wedding dress at age 40 after she was unable to find one suitable for her own wedding.

Never too late vera wang

2. Colonel Harland Sanders was 65 when he finally incorporated Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I love this excerpt from the KFC website:

Our founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. An icon. A legend. A failure. That’s right, a failure. Colonel Sanders had to put in some seriously hard graft before his Original Recipe Chicken finally spread its wings across the world.

3. Peter Mark Roget, best known as the creator of Roget’s International Thesaurus, was 61 when he began compiling the Thesaurus. He published it at age 73.

Never Too Late to Enjoy Yourself

If there’s one thing we can take away from all of this, it’s this: pursuing your dreams is fun. And it’s never too late to have a little fun. Go for it.

“Our universe is alive with sparks. We have at our fingertips an infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility. Passion, rather than fear, is the igniting force.”
-Benjamin Zander

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