You are not too old and it is not too late.
These timely words from poet Rainer Maria Rilke branded me almost viscerally the first time I met a woman I’ll refer to as Dorothy.
It was 1998 in Salt Lake City, where I was a dancer in a showcase performance of sacred dancers from all around the globe. One of the dances that took my breath away was this one. Picture a dark and empty stage, where a single spotlight shines off-centre on a round flesh-coloured ball. A tiny woman, wearing nothing but a head-to-toe nude body stocking, unfurls. Then she stands and leaps and twirls for the next 20 minutes in a captivating solo dance. Moving the mesmerizing story of her 80 years of living!
I met her in person the next day, after morning class, while we were both walking toward the cafeteria. Dressed in vivacious purples and reds and wearing a huge hat, Dorothy was open to chat as we walked! Good thing, because that brief conversation changed the trajectory of my life.
I asked her about her life and what made her dance. She confessed that she had always wanted to dance, but her life was too busy with marriage and family life. When her husband died, she was 60 and realized . . . aha! Now I get to learn how to dance!
At 60, for the very first time in her life, Dorothy enrolled in ballet, jazz and tap classes at her local University. She then studied and performed for the next 20 years. And I got to see her astonishing solo that she had been touring with in the United States.
When I asked what was next for her after her solo tour, she confided that she might be done with dancing. Well, just because she’d been doing it for so long! Above all, her true and newest passion beyond dance was acting. And in Hollywood, no less! Most climactic, she had already been cast as Robin Williams mother in the movie, Patch Adams. Consequently, she and her agent would be pursuing more acting gigs in the following year!
I let that sink in. Not only did Dorothy START dancing at 60, she started acting at 79!
Hence, this got me to look at myself. Truth, I had already decided I was too old and dried up at age 35 to develop my dance career. However, from that brief yet powerful conversation with Dorothy, everything changed. If she, being 80 didn’t let that stop her, why should I let my age dictate what I can or cannot do or be?
That conversation fuelled me into going for my untamed desire of dancing more! For the next 15 years, I created a full-time dance career that went above and beyond my wildest dreams! Similarly, I wasn’t too old to dance up a storm in my 40’s and fifties!
Whenever I meet that pestering thought “I’m too old,” or “I should have started earlier,” I recall Dorothy in all her naked flapping glory. Her matter-of-fact attitude and persistency inspires me to go beyond my self-created stopping points, even to this day.
I wonder, is there a Dorothy in your life? If not, please let this story inspire you to DREAM BIGGER and to go for what you truly desire. You are not too old and it is not too late.
If YOU are a Dorothy, what else can you create beyond your wildest dreams?
Is now the time? Now is the time. The time is NOW!