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Is there success after 40?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 6:51 pm
by BarbaraSher
Jill B.New Member posted September 10, 1999 08:21 AM             I was thinking that it would be wonderful to read a collection of biographies of people who changed thier lives, achieved a goal, success or mastery at something later in their lives...say, after 40. Is there such a book out there? Maybe someone here wants to start collecting the stories and write one! BarbaraSher Moderator posted September 10, 1999 03:36 PM          Would you like me to start posting some of the amazing letters I receive every day from people who've done exactly that?I won't use their names because I don't have their permission -- or the time to go after it -- but I'd be happy to share them. They're quite wonderful. Let's take this discussion over to "Success Stories."

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:01 pm
by BarbaraSher
Personally, I think 40 is pretty young, but I know it seems like a very serious age to most of you, and since there's been a request to hear actual stories of people who have achieved success after 40, I'll pull out some of the wonderful letters I've getting in response to my most recent book -- which is on that very subject -- and post them here for you to see. I've edited the letters to keep the authors anonymous, and I've tried to cut down on the praise they've sent my way so you won't think I'm a megalomaniac, but the reason they sent the letters was to thank me, and it's hard to edit it all out and keep the happy frame of mind they were in when they wrote. So forgive me. You can straighten all this out by telling some stories about people who became a success after they were 40 and never knew I existed. Tell us about anyone you know who fits that description. They can be famous, or they can be your uncle. Let's reassure those among us who are nervous about the possibilities of success after 40.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:09 pm
by BarbaraSher
I hope you never get tired of hearing stories about people whose lives have been changed by your book Wishcraft. because here's another such. In 1984 someone gave me a copy of your book. I read it and did the exercises and was excited by the whole process. A couple of weeks later I was going to my bank and saw on the wall a poster for a local amateur orchestra concert. The ticket price was only $6, but at the time I was in extremely bad shape financially and couldn't even afford that low price. So I called the number and asked if there was anything I could do for them as a volunteer to earn a free ticket. They offered to let me be an usher, which I accepted, and got to hear a very nice concert for free. Now you need to know that I was at one time a student at Juilliard back east, a compostion major, but had never had an orchestral piece of mine performed, although 18 years had gone by since leaving there. I had a vague dream of someday having an orchestral piece performed, but had not done anything concrete about it. Had I not rad your book, it would never have occurred to me to try to get a free ticket by ushering, or to turn an ushering job into a dream, but I did. Within 18 months I was the general manager of that orchestra. By the time I had resigned 8 years later, they had performed three full-length orchestral pieces which I composed for them, and that in turn led to many other opportunities. All thanks to exercising a little "Wishcraft." You cannot possibly have any idea how thankful I am that somebody gave me your book, and that I read it and did the exercises. I know it's a cliche, but it's true: you literally changed my life. WB, Washington

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:12 pm
by BarbaraSher
Dear Barbara Thank you for your book "It's Only Too Late if You Don't Start Now." It's not exactly what I was looking for but I'm glad now that I bought it. I was looking for a book on ways to make a living doing what I like doing. As it turned out your book reaffirmed that what I was doing was right, and why I was doing it. I'm 49. I've been an electrician for 30 years. I ws beginning to hate going to work. The days seemed longer and I was more tired and sore at the end of the day. I had been carving wood for many years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I told my wife one day I bet I could make a living doing this. She agreed -- if I'd stick with it. I had a lot of personal obstacles to overcome. One year after this discussion I was laid off. So I took the opportunity to carve seriously. I found a list of shows around the country and went to one of them and got second place ribbon. Then I went to another in a different state and I got 3 third place ribbons and the chairman's award. We're on our way to another show in August. I enjoy teaching so I may also start giving classes. And the reason I'm writing is just to pray that everyone finds the motivation to do what they want to do. TJ, Arizona

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:15 pm
by BarbaraSher
What resonates with me most in your writings is the knowledge that the desire to do something springs forth from the gift or ability already in place. At age 44 I taught myself to draw and four years later can call myself an artist, something I always wanted to be but never had the courage to try. TH, Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:20 pm
by BarbaraSher
Your books made me cry, laugh, feel nostalgic, etc., but most of all they gave me a vision, filled me with hope. Eight years ago when I first came across your books, I sat with a massive bunch of college credits, but no degree. Although I was "burdened" with the responsibility of a large family (5 children, soon to be 6!), I put together a support group which still meets, and we got cracking on manifesting our dreams. Now I have four degrees, the last one begin a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and three days ago I obtained my license as a psychotherapist in South Africa, my chosen home. I am, to say the least, walking on air! Before I read your latest book I thought, well, now I can rest on my laurels and reap the benefits of my hard work. Hahaha! I've already made future plans: plan to get back to doing live radio, keep travelling the world, etc. Thanks for upsetting my apple-cart. Dr. G., Praetoria [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited September 10, 1999).]

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:22 pm
by BarbaraSher
I thought I was crazy until I read your book. I'm a 44-year-old woman who last year left a 24-year career in a major industry. I entered the work world when I was 20 and never looked back. But as I approached my 40th birthday I knew something was up. I became desperately unhappy and blamed everything except my occupation! My husband had entered graduate school to ease his own mid-life crisis and I marveled at him and admired the way he disciplined himself to re-create his life. After he graduated we went abroad, and I don't know what happened on that trip. All I know is that when it was over I could no longer go back to the life I had led. When we returned home we began brainstorming what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had always felt I had a gift for working with troubled people. I had often found myself counseling people at my job. Even though I had no formal training, people told me I helped them tremendously. I left my job in August and entered college. I'm a freshman now and just completed my first semester. I love it, but my biggest hurdle was the feeling that I was odd for doing what I did. Everyone thought I'd gone off the deep end and I wasn't so sure that they weren't right. Now after reading your book, I realize that I am not odd! Apparently lots of people feel like I did and leave careers and rat race jobs to find a better life! I know something and it's good to know so many others share it: that the salary and all the perks I used to have were not worth the unhappiness I felt. It's been 5 months now and I haven't felt this good in years. I used to have aches and pains, insomnia and other health problems. Now I feel great, sleep like a rock and the problems have seemingly disappeared. We can have anything we want out of life if we are willing to pay the price. The amazing thing is (and no one would have been able to convince me of this if it hadn't happened to me) that the price is often not as high as we feared. We do pay an enormous price for living a life we don't want and are not suited for. A sign on the door of one of my professors says "If you think an education is expensive, try ignorance." Hopefully I will have my degree in social work in 3 1/2 years. When I complete my master's I can become licensed to practice pyschotherapy and that is my goal. Even though I will be 50 years old when I finish, it won't be too late, will it? Because it's only too late if you don't start now!!! RW, Kansas [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited September 10, 1999).]

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:26 pm
by BarbaraSher
I have a great wake up story to share and thought you would enjoy it. In June of '96 I was in ill health and feeling very low. I had retired from years of being a psychic healer and didn't want to do it anymore but every day I more lethargic. Then I had a dream. In it a young psychic told me I had 30 days to live. Understand, in my former line of work one tends to take dreams very seriously. I was a basket case. Then I flew into action. I locked myself up for six days to determine what I would do with the last days of my life here. I had always wanted to paint, but had no training and no "Talent." The hell with it. I'm painting!! Well now 2 years later I am pretty healthy, painting as much as I can. I have a contract with a national catalog, have won 3rd place in a Disney fine arts show, been shown in museums and galleries by invitation, and sold most of the 200+ pieces in my portfolio. This year I started a new business, growing and selling herbs, something else I always wanted to do. You are so right! Awareness of our own mortality can inspire our best work! AV, CA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:29 pm
by BarbaraSher
I'm a 47-year-old never-married woman who, up until the age of 40 was living for others... a high-powered, mega-bucks corporate career that always felt wrong. I even hated the showplace home I owned (but seldom enjoyed). After I was laid off at 40 my life finally became my own. With the help of Wishcraft, frequent flyer miles, and profit from selling my house, I did everything from trek in Nepal, coach running in Hawaii, get a Master's Degree, scuba dive in Fiji, and have a baby on my own at age 43!!! Now I teach college part-time and spend the rest of the my time with what I love more than anything -- being with my daughter. SM, NC [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited September 10, 1999).]

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 7:39 pm
by BarbaraSher
Dear Ms. Sher 15 years ago my wife and I created and completed a project called "The Walk Around America." I am 61 years old now and for many reasons I had almost come to believe that I had made a disastrous mistake by giving up a promising career to go on The Walk. Then I read your book. Thank you for showing me that I was not a lousy, no good, job-jumping quitter (ah, the voices again). You showed me that by following the voice that was coming out of the deepest part of my heart I was beginning a second life. I enclose the book we were able to write describing The Walk which will explain why we felt driven to do it. Raising Drug-Free Kids in a Drug-Filled World (hardcover by Harper & Row). (His first book has given him the credibility and the confidence to start a new career as a workshop leader and presenter on the lecture circuit.) BP, MI

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 1999 8:53 pm
by Code00
Barbara Thanks for sharing these stories they're inspirational at any age!! This area doesn't get used enough. I think it's easier to talk about the struggles because they're so obvious. The successes are usually smaller and quite frankly harder to recognize. I'm going to make more of an effort to post my little victories here. "V" for victory... Code

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 1999 12:46 pm
by BarbaraSher
Thanks, Code, I feel the same way. I wish people would come in here and tell us some of the good stuff that happened to them, or anybody else for that matter. We forget to notice, especially when it comes to ourselves. You know what I did today? It was gorgeous weather, and I packed up all my work and took it to the park. I worked there for about 3 hours. The air was cool and the sun was warm, and I was a very happy human. What did you guys do today? (Since this is the Success After Forty topic, maybe I'll open another one, called "How I Was Successful Today." See you there!)

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 1999 4:42 pm
by BarbaraSher
You *do* know that I published my first book when I was 44, don't you?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 1999 6:10 am
by Irie
Dear Barbara, I'm reading these letters with tears in my eyes. I don't know how to thank you enough. One of them in particular brought up a vivid memory from 5th or 6th grade. I was in art class and my art teacher for some reason told us that if you don't jump a certain articstic hurdle when you are in your teans you will never improve beyond a certain level. For the life of me, I can't think why she thought to tell this to a group of 11 year olds. Of course things you hear from authority figures at that age tend to become axioms never to be challenged. I didn't even remember hearing her say it until I read the letters from artists. It was simply something I never questioned. Again thank you.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 1999 12:45 pm
by Phoenix107
Here's a nice success story--I've always wanted to write, but ran into big trouble back in 1992 (wasn't quite 40, but close), when a Well-Known Author decided to declare a _fatwa_ against me (long, hideous story, and I still don't mention names unless I must, I still have the letter from her lawyer, shudder). So a friend advised me, "write the most techy, hard-sf thing you can think of". I did. It took four years to get published, but when it did, I ended up selling the story to three different places for a total (so far) of approximately $3500, and landed a spot on the Preliminary Nebula Ballot for my trouble. And because I played so much Nintendo (therapy!), I discovered a character I adored, changed his name, did some (evil) plastic surgery, really ruined his life, and am working on a three-book fantasy series about him. No contract (yet), but people respect are saying the chapters they've seen so far are the best they've ever seen out of me. And it was the Major Author who made it all possible, in this person's own bizarre fashion. ------------------ Never say die! Just reboot.