Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Heeding the Call

A few weeks ago, I began a speech by asking how many members of my middle-aged audience still didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Amid an eruption of giggles, more than a quarter of the people in the room raised a hand.

Some might argue that if you haven’t found a calling by the time you’re in midlife, chances are you won’t. Meg Wolitzer, author of The Ten-Year Nap, goes even further. In a recent New York Times interview, she declares: “The notion that everyone has a calling, that everyone has a talent, that everyone has a passion, isn’t true.”

I’m not so sure about that. But even if Ms. Wolitzer is right, before you put yourself in the “I don’t have a calling” category, consider Mimi Weddell, who began her acting career at age 65 and has appeared in such films as The Thomas Crown Affair, Hitch, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Across the Universe. Now 93, she’s still attending cattle calls.

Granted, you might not be as energetic as Ms. Weddell, but that doesn’t mean you're too old to explore your gifts and passions. Keep in mind that a talent can be something as unassuming as always seeing the best in people. One of my husband’s, for example, is being at ease with himself. In his volunteer work with hospice, he puts this gift to good use. Although he claims not to have a vocation, he heeds the call of his heart in helping others.

There's no point, in other words, in striving to be someone you're not. But why settle for being less than you are?

Note: The above photo of Ms. Weddell comes from nymag.com


  1. I am much older than you, but lived in frustration because I did not have the courage to follow my dream of writing and publishing until I was in my fifties. I was the caregiver in my family. Depressed and with low self-esteem, I finally moved to a new place where I found the people who would encourage and validate my true skills and suddenly my dreams came true. I have a story but it is too long to fit here. I urge anyone in mid-life to follow your dreams. I have never been happier than I am today. If only I could have more hours to pursue my ambitions, I'd be even happier.
    I really like your blog and will share it with many friends.

  2. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Yuhooo! Hey CinderPrilla! I absolutely LOVE the pic of Ms Weddell. Is she adorable or what? I want to look good in a hat like she does! I was forced, in a way, to find my passion and to follow my dream and honey, I will tell others that once you dare cross over that line and pursue that dream, you never look back. Life becomes SWEET!

  3. Hey JJ! Great to hear from you! And, yup, I too love that photo. --CP