Relationships

Three Women Share Their Later-in-Life Accomplishments

As you know, I’m always on the side of the late bloomer, so I got curious about people who had done something extraordinary at older ages. We talked to three women who did just that…

Who: Evelyn
Where: Owasso, Oklahoma
What: Got a Ph.D. at age 51

“I’ve always loved academia — I feel like it stretches me. When I was growing up, my aunt Geraldine had a doctorate and started a charter school. She went to sit-ins and was always picking apart societal norms. I connected with her more than anyone else in my family. So, I decided to start on my doctoral degree once my son left for college. I’m now getting my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, because I know I have something to offer in leading people and helping make big decisions. There are major ways education needs to change, including being more inclusive of people with different backgrounds. There’s a lot of movement in that, but I want to make sure it gets done. For example, I never learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school, but students are starting to learn more about their own histories now. I’ve had this yearning to sit at the table where decisions are made that affect students of color. I want my students to know that I see them and that whenever they have an interaction with me that it meant something, that if we’re both human beings on this earth, living in the same moment in time, then we both deserve each other’s respect.

“Right before I presented my thesis, people were telling me, ‘Once you get to the point of presenting, it’s easy.’ But I wanted to blow their socks off! Black people have been taught you have to do twice as much to be considered half as good, so I knew I couldn’t do it half-heartedly. I’d done the work and the research, and my voice was shaking a little bit at the beginning, but I still did it. Afterward, they said it was one of the best presentations they’d ever seen. It made me think of my first day of class. I was trying to be on time, and I was out of breath from climbing the stairs, and I couldn’t find the right room. I kept telling myself, ‘Can you even find the classroom? What are you doing? What are you DOING??’ Then I finally said, ‘I don’t care if I feel crazy as all get out, I’m gonna keep going.’ Be scared, but do it while you’re scared!”

Who: Sandi
Where: Arvada, Colorado
What: Became a professional triathlete at age 60

“When I was 55, I realized I’d lost a spark. I wasn’t athletic at all and wanted to change my life. One day, I met a fellow speech therapist named Mark; we struck up a conversation, and before long I learned that he had won Iron Man Hawaii in his age group. I didn’t even know how to swim or gear a bike, but Mark and I started going on bike rides together. He introduced me to all his triathlete friends and that was the beginning of risk-taking for me. In my head, I had an excuse for not wanting to do something, but I just did everything. I had to learn how to run, which is just walking 100 steps and then jogging 100 steps. I joined a women’s triathlete group, and even though I was among the oldest in the group, it was so much fun. I was anxious, but I was no longer watching someone else play. I had a group of women I would swim with, and after practice we’d go eat Mexican food, with our wet hair slicked back. At age 60, I competed in my first triathlon, in Silverthorne, Colorado, up in the mountains. I didn’t want Mark to come watch me because I wanted to do it on my own. I won my age group — and even beat someone who had the reputation of winning in the thin air of the mountains. I was hooked. One morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive to a competition, and I rolled down the windows and cranked up the music and thought, ‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. It’s just for me.’ I had been taking care of people all my life, but now I wasn’t on the sidelines anymore. From ages 60 to 70, I competed as a professional triathlete, and I’ve never been happier. It was like I had a secret inside me the whole time. I suffered a stroke a few years ago, so I can’t do what I once did, but I bought a recumbent bike and go up the mountain roads near my house. I can still be free, and that’s what it’s all about — the feeling of being free.”

Who: Gail
Where: Columbus, Ohio
What: Joined the Peace Corps at age 58

“When my husband and I graduated from college in the 1970s, we applied to the Peace Corps. We ended up being sent to the Bahamas for two years. After that, we returned home. Mike worked as an advisor for small businesses and I was a dental hygienist. We had kids and work and a normal life. But after our kids grew up, we looked around and said, ‘We don’t need this big house anymore. What’s out there in the world?’ The Peace Corps doesn’t have an age limit for serving, so at age 58, after my husband retired, we decided to go for it again. We were placed in Swaziland (Eswatini), Africa, and after three months of training they determined where we’d be the best fit. We served at a locally-run HIV orphanage on a working dairy farm, teaching and tutoring. I also launched an income-generating project for some rural women who had connections to the orphanage. We would go back to America on our vacation days and visit our grandbabies and kids. After four years in Africa, we came back to the U.S., and I became the Peace Corps recruiter at Ohio State University for three years. In the meantime, we still went back and forth to Swaziland to volunteer, this time on our own. Since 2018, we’ve gone back twice a year, every year. We both just got both our vaccines and booked our tickets back! If I could give anyone advice, I’d say, listen to your heart. You can do way more than you think you can.”

Thank you to those who shared their stories with us. What’s something you’ve accomplished that’s made you proud?

P.S. 7 women on deciding not to have kids and 11 brilliant women share what they learned about themselves.

  1. SerenityNow says...

    I’ve been an avid CoJ reader for years but have never commented until this post, which was just absolutely life-affirming and joyful and inspiring. I would also love for this to become a series. This was such a reassuring reminder that life has many chapters! Hats off to you, Kim, for this wonderful piece.

  2. Rosalie says...

    This is so inspirational— I love it!

  3. Magpie says...

    Please, more stories of older women finding new dreams and achieving new goals.

  4. Linda Lewis says...

    When I was 60,I lost my husband. We had been RVing since I retired for about 5 years. I felt very strongly that I wanted to continue to RV, so I traded our bigger one for a 26 ft motor home. Less than a year after he died, I was spending the winter in Florida. I have put 17,000 miles on my RV and still many more trips to make. I have met so many kind and wonderful people along the way, as well as seeing so much beauty, it has been a wonderful experience.

  5. P says...

    I needed this post! I’m 46, and after teaching for almost 20 years (a job I’ve loved but am burning out on), I recently made the terrifying decision to go back to school to become a Speech and Language Therapist. It is a commitment of 4 years, full time. At an age when worries about investing and saving for retirement are intensifying, it feels foolish sometimes to spend so much on school and take myself out of work for so long. I have good days and bad days. Often, I am just really excited to be learning again and feeling those youthful feelings of possibility and newness and adventure. Other times, when I mourn the loss of many of my weekends and free time, or worry about starting at the bottom again, I wonder if I am making a big mistake. But I just keep taking each day as it comes and tell myself nothing is set in stone. I also keep coming back to the idea that I am going to be 50 someday anyway–and do I want to be 50 with a whole new career, or 50 and even more burnt out than I already am? I feel really privileged to be able to even consider this career change–so there is gratitude even where there is fear.

  6. Caitlin says...

    I recently turned 30 and have spent the last 12 months unemployed thanks to COVID (although got offered and accepted a new job 2 days ago). I have been slightly worried that I’m not where I thought I’d be in life both professionally and personally. This post makes me so happy to think of all the amazing possibilities that still exist in my life in the many years to come. Our society is so obsessed with youth that we forget how much of our lives we still have to live if we embrace it.

  7. Julie says...

    I really enjoyed this post. I am a current stay-at-home parent, who has been out of the workforce for 6 years, but I am hoping to get back to work (or school?) in the near future. This post definitely provides some much-needed encouragement. I am very anxious and overwhelmed about the change, and I don’t have a clear career path, so I’m not even sure where to start. If you do extend this into a series, I would also love to hear from other parents who made a leap back into the workplace or school after some number of years at home with their kids. Thanks!

    • Trish says...

      Hi Julie – I hear you. I was away from my profession (law) for a decade while I stayed home with my kids. When I made the decision to return to work, I thought no one would want me after that long away. But my husband kept reminding me to be picky and wait for the right job. I applied for two completely different jobs in January and they both offered me the job! One said my maturity (i’m 43 :) was a bonus in that I can deal with pressures and situations that would make someone more junior nervous. The other employer recognized the value of all the volunteering I did in my decade away and that my role as a parent came with many skills they needed. So many transferable skills! So my advice, for what it is worth, is: tell your friends that you are looking (that is how I learned about one position), wait for a job that sounds interesting, and don’t doubt for one moment all the transferable skills that you possess. You’ve got this!

  8. Amber says...

    Also requesting that this be a regular series! I’m 35 and I’m not at all interested in what people younger than me are achieving LOL (maybe just a little). Our culture is obsessed with youth and is soooo ageist! I NEED these types of stories. I need to be reminded that I can keep dreaming and experimenting until the end.

  9. Thanks for sharing! I’m a 30-something millennial and I feel old now that I’m looking for a new job again (due to the pandemic). But this article reminds me that anything is possible, so I feel very inspired 😁

  10. Amanda says...

    This is an amazing post and so inspiring as someone who feels the languishing right now. Please make it a series!

  11. Marisa says...

    Whoohoo! I was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eswatini (then Swaziland, ’04-06)! I love that you served twice, Gail!

  12. Ali says...

    This is so inspirational. I lost my breath a bit when I read this line “I had a group of women I would swim with, and after practice we’d go eat Mexican food, with our wet hair slicked back.” I felt it, the return of the spark. Amazing.

  13. Molly says...

    Thank you so much for this post — it’s indeed inspiring to be reminded that my long, meandering path is not as abnormal as it sometimes feels :) I’ll be graduating from my nursing program in a couple of weeks and am older than my classmates by many, many years. At 40, I imagined myself on a very different path, but in some ways it’s a relief to be starting a new career with so much personal and professional experience behind me!

  14. Wow very good post, LOVE THIS!

  15. Poppy says...

    This is great! It is wonderful to see stories of older women still killing it and growing. Too often its the young and pretty ones everyone showcases…”she did x, y and z and looks sexy with no makeup!”. One day you realize you are now a certain age and you are invisible. Use this invisibility as your superpower and do whatever you want.

  16. Jamie says...

    This is giving me such a boost, THANKYOU!

  17. janine says...

    I am 46 and publishing my first book this year! I also started playing tennis for the first time in my life a year ago (and I lost 30 pounds!).

    • Blythe l says...

      OH MY GOODNESS! Congrats Janine!

  18. Shira says...

    I recently listened to an episode of Nora McInerny’s podcast, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking,” called “The Gift.” I highly recommend the podcast in general, and that episode in particular. Nora interviewed Edith Eger, who is a Holocaust survivor. When she was 40, her supervisor told her to get a doctorate, but she said it was too late for her, because she’d be 50 by the time she graduated. And her supervisor said, “You’ll be 50 anyway. So don’t worry about the chronological age, please.” That line really stuck with me. For anyone who thinks they’re too old, they’ll be that older age anyway, so you may as well be doing something you want to be doing!

  19. spark says...

    My grandmother, Edith, found true love at age 90. My grandfather died in his 50s from cancer and apart from a very brief, deeply unsatisfying marriage in her 60s, Grandma had no romantic interests and felt she just wasn’t “built that way.” Fast forward to her 90s, she met Cyril (they were a floor apart in their retirement home) and they fell DEEPLY in love. He was 95 and they had four wonderful years together. They held hands, kissed, and had their own inside jokes. They both said it was the love they waited a lifetime for and it was worth it.

    • spark says...

      Also, I know falling in love isn’t an accomplishment but their story serves as a wonderful reminder to me that there is no imaginary line where we stay satisfied with the status quo. I love knowing that your entire lifetime is full of possibilities.

    • Joey says...

      Maybe falling in love isn’t an accomplishment, but being vulnerable to allow yourself to absolutely is! What a beautiful journey and story; as someone who feels similarly not “built that way” sometimes, I thank you for sharing it!

  20. Eva says...

    This is so awesome. I’m going to reference this post anytime I hear someone say how they feel too old to make a big life change. Age is just a number. You can do just about anything you want in this life. Not everything— but anything.

  21. Suzy Spezzano says...

    I love to see other 50 somethings who are ‘perennial’s’! I too would love to see this as a regular feature. I will graduate on May 6th with my grad degree from CU Boulder in Cultural & Linguistic Diversity in Education. I have a 10 year old and I turn 57 later this month.

  22. Laura Candler says...

    I am reading this in the car with my family on a road trip, silently bawling my eyes out while my husband and kids jam out to music and do coloring books. This is beautiful, and so are these lovely comments here. Thank you so much Kim for this article! ❤️

  23. Rebecca says...

    Turning 38 tomorrow and was thinking about all the things I haven’t accomplished yet … This post is amazing . Thank you so much for inspiring me to get excited about what’s ahead!

  24. Shira says...

    I just listened to an episode of Nora McInerny’s podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking called “The Gift” (I highly recommend the podcast in general, and this episode in particular). She interviewed a woman who is a Holocaust survivor, and she got her degree in her 50s. When she was balking at the idea of going to school, a mentor said to her, “You’re going to be 50 anyway.” I loved that line. If you’re afraid of doing something because you’re “too old,” well, you’re going to turn that age anyway. So you may as well be doing what you want to be doing.

    • LK says...

      I agree, that was magical!

  25. Kara says...

    This post is GENIUS. I hope we can truly normalize that women live vibrant lives at all ages & growing up is worth looking forward to because of all of the possibilities! I think I sometimes mentally tell myself I can’t do something because I’m too old at 40, even though there are no rules other than what we make. Needed this! I hope it becomes a regular one too!

  26. hannah says...

    I LOVE THIS!!!!!

    I’m 52 and have had a rough 15 years. After my first child was born with complex medical issues I had to leave a career that I adored to care for her. In the ensuing years, I had my own health challenges and endured multiple emergency surgeries and battled anxiety and depression. My daughter has been hospitalized multiple times and was suicidal two years ago, right about the time my beloved and brilliant father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. BUT….things have turned around for me this year. I have successfully started my own educational consulting firm, lost 100 lbs and am FINALLY feeling like things are heading in the right direction. I think my 50’s are going to be my best decade yet. Here’s to all the older women making waves!

    • J. says...

      Hannah, I love this so much– I’m so sorry for all that’s been so hard, and also so proud of you. Thank you for sharing, and I agree– your 50s sound like they are already incredible and going to continue to be so!!!! xx

  27. Meghan says...

    When my youngest child left for college, I became determined to become more than “a spectator” of my loved ones’ lives. Even though I was terrified, I applied to attend graduate school to study mental health. I’ll finish my program and enter the workforce when I’m 57. I keep telling myself, “I don’t know exactly how this is going to work out, but that’s ok!” If anyone reading this is considering pursuing a long held dream, go for it! It feels so good.

  28. karla says...

    Five years ago my husband and I adopted a sibling group of 4 kiddos from an orphanage in Guatemala. We were 60 then and our 2 bios were in their twenties and out on their own. Today our house is crazy and busy and LOUD and all things wonderful! We have never looked back and tell ourselves our teens (13,14,15 and 17) are keeping us young.

  29. Mary H. says...

    I was 45 when I completed my PhD. Having two kids during the course of studies (at age 37&41) slowed my progress but whenever I doubted myself, I always remembered what someone told me: “You’ll be [insert age] with or without the degree!” So I chose to finish and be 45 WITH a PhD!

  30. k. says...

    Please make this a regular post! As someone in their 50s, it is so, so valuable.

    • Lori says...

      Yes, I completely agree (also in my 50’s)!!

    • Neile King says...

      Agree!

  31. Nancy says...

    Inspiring to read. I am 61 still working and have been filled with uncertainty about what is next for me. Thank you so much. <3

  32. Katie says...

    My late Grammy started doing yoga at 90, and she lived on her own in Lake Tahoe until she was 92. She kept up with her Spanish by chatting with some nice guys from Mexico who worked at her local bakery & did the NYT crossword every day. Not accomplishments, per se, but little habits that kept her interesting & interested late in life. Oh & one time she tried to get out of wearing her swimsuit to the beach at the lake saying 89 was too old for wearing a swimsuit and I was like, “that’s bananas – if you wore it at 88 you can wear it at 89, COME ON.” And she rolled her eyes at me but then changed into her suit again. She was the best.

    • Abby says...

      She really sounds like she was the best. Also the little things are actually the really, really big things <3

    • Samantha says...

      She sounds amazing!!

    • Jo says...

      Your grammy sounds wonderful!

  33. Molly says...

    Wow! These stories are SO wonderful & uplifting!! Thank you for sharing! xoxo

  34. Bern says...

    I am 29, and I’ve been reading cup of jo for many years. This is my absolute favorite post! It is so inspiring. I find myself worrying about everything: the future; the planet; my path; my career path; my boyfriend; my mom; do i want to have kids; what is success; what do i want . . . blah blah blah. This post just totally reminded me life is one foot in front of the other and it is never “too late.” These women are so inspiring!!

  35. M. says...

    Reading this article and comments has been uplifting and heartwarming. It’s reassuring to know that it’s never too late to start a new career at any age, whether 20s, 30s or even 50s! I’ve always been worried about been “too old,” and this article defies all expectations of ageism.

  36. J says...

    At 43 I decided I was going to learn how to ride a bike. I honestly had a difficult childhood and never learned as a result there were some pretty bad associations with learning to ride a bike so I just shelved it. Then on my 43rd birthday I decided I was done avoiding it and got a bike. I fell, I was scared and I was really embarrassed, but I did it. Now I can ride my bike and it feels like it means so much more to me then if I would have learned as a kid.

  37. I love this so so much! I’m 38 with 3 kids and two years into running my own design business. Every now and again I get a pant of jealousy at my younger peers but I also wouldn’t change a thing about my meandering path. Definitely need more of these stories!

  38. Cynthia says...

    I bought a computerized sewing machine when I was 49 and taught myself how to do machine embroidery. I got my 3 wheel motorcycle license when I was 64, but I am not comfortable on the road. I had to learn how to use a clutch and shift gears because I only knew how to drive an automatic.

  39. Christina says...

    Yes! Best post ever! So inspiring.

  40. K says...

    this really gave me life ” I can still be free, and that’s what it’s all about — the feeling of being free.” thank you so much for the spark!

  41. Christine says...

    Incredible. Moved to tears with inspiration and gratitude for these women sharing their stories about the wonder that lies ahead. Thank you.

  42. After a long battle with severe mental illness and being fortunate enough to have access to the extremely long and intensive treatment I needed, I started a mental health advocacy and awareness organization to fight the stigma that exists around talking openly around mental illness, to let others know they are not alone in this journey and that full and sustained recovery is possible. I launched right as the pandemic shut down everything, but I didn’t care.

    • margaret says...

      I love this Andrea! Help yourself, help others. Brilliant! I love knowing there are people like you in the world. ( :

  43. MH says...

    This makes me so happy to read….the stories and the following comments are so inspiring! At age 48, I just applied and was accepted to a Master of Social Work program. After many years raising kids and encouraging them to pursue their passions, I am so excited to pursue my own.

    • Julia says...

      MH- you sound just like my mom! She graduated at the age of 52 with an MSW, and now works for a hospice agency (she’s actually in a managing role after being there a few years!). She LOVES it and after years spent being a mom/in corporate America, truly feels like she has found her calling. You will have opportunities to make a difference you never even dreamed of, and you are so needed! Good luck!

  44. Victoria says...

    Hiiii would very much love to chat with anyone making these types of changes! Covid loneliness is hitting me hard and these stories are so inspiring!

    • Kari says...

      Hi Victoria, I’ve been feeling lonely and wanting to chat too. Thinking about my own path, feeling confusion about what I want, but wanting especially to connect to others and hear their stories. Want to talk sometime?

    • Victoria says...

      Kari, I’d love to connect but can’t respond to you! Email me :) itsvictoriarios@gmail.com

  45. Nancy says...

    This is wonderful. I’m 37 with one wonderful daughter. We had hoped to have more kiddos but i’m not sure its in the cards. I had planned to happily spend my 30’s and 40’s raising a big family. With only one kiddo i’ve needed to start thinking about my plan b…I have more time than intended and am honestly at a loss of how to meaningfully use it. These are inspiring stories! Thank you for sharing xo

    • Sarah says...

      Hi Nancy – I had to comment because ME TOO. I’m 39, with one son, and it’s unclear if it is in the cards for us to have anymore children for a myriad of reasons. I wanted a big family and am working through the grief of that possibly (probably) not happening. I’ve also begun to realize that “only one kid” is not only downsides, and finding a plan b, c and d are important, not only for me, but for my son too.

  46. Cheryl says...

    This beautiful piece is the opposite of the feeling I have when I unfollow Instagram accounts of impossibly rich 28 year olds with paid partnerships, a door knocker engagement ring and buns of steel.

    When I was 28 I was floundering in a sea of confusion, struggling, and blooming in my own time, I guess (out of the limelight).
    What a wonder and a gift that the limelight didn’t exist in my most fragile years.
    Kudos to these hard working slow bloomers.

  47. Margaret says...

    I absolutely love this post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m so impressed at you women.

    I’m 35, but I had decided my career as a musician wasn’t working any more and I needed to do something else. The last 6 years I’ve been floundering around, trying to figure out what my plan was and wondering if I’d ever be passionate about anything again.

    Just recently, during the pandemic, I discovered permaculture, and in the last 9 months I have planted a food forest in my backyard. It’s given me such life – and that feeling of being free that one of the women in this post described – and I am so incredibly thrilled to have found this passion. After losing touch with my musician self, I thought my life was pretty much over… and now I’m laughing at myself because I was only 29 at the time! Little did I know that inspiration can find you again, and again and again, a point to which these marvelous women testify. Thank you for sharing your stories and I am linking arms with all of you across the internet and saying, “There is still beauty to be found!”

    • Salma says...

      This is amazing, I’ve been feeling the same way regarding my career and have really found peace in plants and gardening recently too… would love to learn more about permaculture and your food forest! You’re inspiring me!

      @joanna… anyway you could set up a forum section where your community members could get in touch with, talk and learn from each other? It seems so many of us have tons in common and having a way to connect with each other would be so lovely :)

  48. Zeba Basu says...

    So happy someone’s talking about this. I am a software Engineer.
    I started learning the guitar at 48. I started rock climbing at 48. I started learning boxing at 49. I started studying French at 49. I plan to get a degree in French. I have a long list of travel and things I plan to do.
    I found my freedom at 42. Then it took me several more years to realize I can do anything I want, no matter what age.

    • Diana says...

      Wow, you are so inspiring! Well done!

  49. Asha says...

    This is so inspiring to read! I’ve been down lately feeling like I could have done more with my education. This is a solid reminder that we get more than one act in life. I enrolled in a 300hr YTT and am working towards becoming a 500hr RYT in 2022! I’ll be the one in class who’s 40 with 3 kids but I’m glad I’m pursuing my passion.

  50. jules says...

    this made me cry at the beauty of all these women! so inspiring . i’m going to keep their stories with me for when i need courage to try something new, but fear i am too old. thank you!

  51. Kathryn says...

    This is deeply inspiring. Thank you for focusing on what’s ahead.

  52. Gretchen says...

    Kim, this is one of my favorite CupofJo posts ever. Thank you.

    (Also, would you consider a part 2?)

    • Kate Evans says...

      Yes! here here to a part 2!

    • Em says...

      Yes, please do a part 2! Or a whole series!

  53. Annett says...

    These are great stories, soooo inspiring – PLEASE MORE!

  54. Alex says...

    I’m a 37-year-old first year medical student with two babies!! These just made me grin so hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Victoria says...

      Alex, that is such an incredible accomplishment! Congrats!

    • Marie says...

      I would love to hear more about this. I’ve always wanted to go to medical school but I feel like my age (also 37) is holding me back. I am SO inspired!

    • Sequoia says...

      My just made my day!!!

    • You go Alex! Oldest person in my class was 40 with teenage kids. She always inspired me. You will do great. If you’re going into medical school for the right reasons you will not regret it. Best of luck to you

    • Alex says...

      Marie! You can totally do it. There is a facebook group for nontraditional women in medicine; you should join. Lots of incredible women there. I met a chick our age who got pregnant with twins as a teenager and is now a med student. SHE ALSO HAS HAD FIVE MORE CHILDREN OMG. If you join, people can give their experiences and geographic locations etc. Also feel free to email me! Do not let your age hold you back!!!! alberger52@gmail.com

    • naomi says...

      I wish we could chat! I just finished my first year of nursing school on a path of becoming a nurse practitioner and am also 37 with two little ones.

    • em says...

      one of the women in the year below mine decided to go to medical school after having developed a previous career, and her kid/kids had gone to college (didn’t know her super well but always thought she was incredible). you’ll definitely bring something special to the table & to your patients <3

    • Sarah says...

      OMG. Can this turn into some kind of group chat? It is my dream to go to medical school and/or NP school. I’m 39 and have one young son. I started taking pre-requisite courses and was honestly in love. I felt like I was finally on the right path for me. I want to find a way to continue, and talking to other people doing it, especially moms would be so so so wonderful.

    • Alex says...

      @ Georgia THANKS SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS. Being old in med school is intense, and I definitely feel like a huge weirdo most of the time. @ Naomi email me! Love to chat other olds in health care!! alberger52@gmail.com

  55. Jen says...

    Time is but a number. Happiness and accomplishment is at any age. I love this. I have even more inspiration to keep going and being me.

  56. Karen says...

    This is so inspiring, please please Kim do more of these!

  57. Gabrielle says...

    It seems like 344 other commenters agree – Kim, thank you for this!! I’m absolutely inspired by these women, what a fabulous trio. Would love for this to be a series! x

  58. Marija says...

    Dear Joanna and Kim,
    This wonderful topic should be separate and one article should be written on the portal about this topic every week.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Greetings from Zagreb, from Croatia :))
    Marija

    • Wink says...

      Seconding Marija! (Bog, Marija. I left part of my heart in Zagreb!) I would love to see this as a regular feature. Women need women to be inspired and to look up to, and to realize that aging is something to look *forward to*. Aging = more years, more life, more opportunities to get it done!

      I am amazed by all of these women. Brava! Evelyn’s last comment is going to go over my desk.

      ‘Then I finally said, ‘I don’t care if I feel crazy as all get out, I’m gonna keep going.’ Be scared, but do it while you’re scared!”’

    • margaret says...

      Yes! Accomplishments of all kinds for older women. I’m in my early 50s and love this stage of life. US/western society makes older women invisible. Let’s be visible here on COJ!

    • Angie says...

      Voicing support for a weekly column on this! We hear so little about women later in life. I don’t think I even realized how much I wanted to hear this until reading this and thinking, wait, I NEVER see these stories in media! IMO older women are the best, and most unsung sources, of guidance, inspiration, and encouragement.

  59. Sarah says...

    this was absolutely inspiring, thank you so much. It just gave me such a feeling of hopefulness. I’m in my twenties and don’t often think about what dreams I want to accomplish past the next 10 years of my life, so this was incredibly inspiring to think that I don’t have to try to cram everything in now but can (hopefully!) dream big for a lifetime

  60. Farhana says...

    So inspiring! I’ve waited on the sideline for far too long, helping others reach their goals (hoping they’ll do the same for me in time). I’ve learned that you’ll need to treat yourself first the way you want others to treat you. You’ll just need to learn to make yourself a priority! Over the last ten years, I’ve become a yoga teacher, a certified Quran teacher and I’ll soon become a piano teacher. And I have a blog that I write in my second language.

  61. B. L. S. says...

    More of this, please! So wonderful to see women of all age groups challenge themselves and continue to grow! ~~~

  62. Chantelle B says...

    the feel good content the world needs right now! thank you CoJ for inspiring and shining a light on inspiring women around us <3

  63. Lauren says...

    I’m “only” 37, but also in the process of pursuing a whole new career in Design (while maintaining my current paycheck). It feels hard (mentally, creatively, logistically, financially), horrifying, insecure, and also so right. Thanks for sharing this.

  64. forestpuffin says...

    I am a month shy of my 41st birthday and started an MBA earlier this year, online. I have two small kids and work FT. I was SO NERVOUS and spent hours daily questioning myself about doing it, all through my application process. But! I! LOVE! IT! My job is kind of dull, so I’m remembering how much I love to learn, how good it feels to use my brain AND how good I AM at that. I am older than most of my cohort, but I don’t mind; it is kind of nice to be a peer w some of my professors and I care WAY less about what my actual grades are. Not that I’m slacking, but the perspective of age allows me to do without that stress and enjoy the learning on its own. Bonus: stepping away from my husband and kids for a few hours each week to “go” to class is actually kind of like self care, I’ve discovered. A benefit I never anticipated.

    As someone else stated, yes, it can feel like it will take a long time to pursue XYZ endeavor and that can keep us from doing it, but the time will pass anyway. What finally motivated me was that I would get to 43 or 44 and be like, “wow, I could have been doing that the entire time and now here I am without my degree in hand and I’m bummed!” So that long-term outlook made me go ahead and start. And my husband, who has been a big supporter!

    • Irene says...

      You are definitely me! I just turned 41 last month and I started my MBA program online a couple years ago. I am scheduled to finish mine by the end of the year. I am also pursuing it in addition to my full time job, and even though some weeks are hectic (goodbye nights and weekends), I love the thrill of learning something new and the intellectual challenge with new courses and subject matters. The time goes by so quickly too, I am very close to finishing the degree. I only have one regret- I wish I had done this years ago instead of waiting until my late 30s to start it! Wish you the best in your study, you will find it very rewarding!

  65. Leah Doran says...

    This post means a lot to me and really filled me up with possibility. It’s such a good reminder that we can reinvent ourselves and have big dreams even when we’re already “grown up.” I’d love to hear more stories like this.

  66. Sarah says...

    This is my favorite coj post ever, and I’ve been reading for YEARS. Sobbing like a baby. Thank you for this, Kim!

  67. Fiona says...

    After 43 years as a chemical engineer, my dad retired and decided to become an Artist (with a capital “A”). He did three associates degrees at his local community college and then went back to Mexico (to his Alma Mater!) to get an MFA. He spent semesters living with his sister and going to school and every break back in the US with my mum until the pandemic hit, and he’s done everything remotely since. He’s due to graduate with his MFA this month! He’s 70 this year and absolutely following his bliss!

    • Angie says...

      Wow, I just love this so much!

  68. I’m so excited to see you do this piece! I am 54. Last year, before Covid was a thing, I decided to apply to graduate school in mental health counseling. I got in and then started in June when we couldn’t go out. I always say to people who are deciding to do things, “You can still be deciding two years from now or you could be done with [the thing] you’re thinking about doing. The time is going to go by either way.” So I’m half way through and it’s amazing. I’m loving every minute. Life is a process. There is no moment when it cannot be different, or fulfilling, or filled with learning.

  69. Sangeetha says...

    This is one of the most inspiring posts I have read after a long time. I feel like I am stuck in a rut right now with young kids. I do have a PhD (ha ha) but I want to do more! I feel like I can have dreams again once my kids are safe and stable. Here’s to looking towards the future!

  70. CS says...

    What a fantastic post! This really resonates with me…there are always new challenges if you’re willing to try. I started playing tennis at age 43. I’d never even picked up a racquet and at first, I couldn’t hit the ball over the net. I stayed with it and now, 13 years later, I play for exercise and I’ve played in singles and doubles tournaments, been part of a regular doubles game and hit with my husband and kids for fun. It has been worth the blood, sweat and tears to accomplish something I never thought I could do.

    • Hannah says...

      CS,

      This is so exciting to read! I am 43 now, and I want to pick up my racquet again (I took some lessons and played casually as a teen) but I honestly don’t know where to start. Do I join a club? Take lessons? How do I find people to play with? If you can share your experience or advice, I’d really appreciate it!

    • J says...

      I started tennis at 35 and feel that it has really changed my life. I am much more outgoing now. I have made some great friends on the tennis courts. It’s always nice to hear of another tennis player who did not start as a child.

  71. Jessica says...

    This is me. I went back to school to earn a graduate degree in Elementary Education when I was 48. I just graduated last December and I’m currently working as a substitute teacher while applying for teaching positions in the fall. I’m going into teaching knowing how challenging it can be but also I feel like working with kids is so rewarding. I still have kids at home, my youngest is almost 12 but I feel like I have so much more of myself to give toward my second career.

  72. Molly G says...

    This is so inspiring! I had to work very hard to get my college degree and after I graduated I was so burnt out. I didn’t have the energy to stay in school for a masters or another advanced degree. Now, 15 years later I am in a boring office job, raising young kids and wishing I had done something more exciting for a career path. I’ve just started admitting to myself that I want to go back for a nursing degree when my kids are older. Seems so scary and SO much work, but I have an ache for that job that I don’t want to ignore.

    • Katie S. says...

      Do it Molly!! If you can raise kids, you can do ANYTHING! We are all rooting for you.

    • Naomi says...

      I am doing this right now!!!! And I have two little ones. Is there a way to message directly- glad to talk to you about it!

  73. Jill says...

    This is sooo inspiring! I am 51 yrs old. I have been a preschool and special needs preschool teacher for 25 years and currently a mom to a 16 yr old daughter. I love my jobs as teacher, mom, constant caretaker, but I always feel that there is so much more, and I am missing out on some other part of life but I am just not sure what that is. I went back to school when I was 40 and got my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Development but then went back to my same job because I loved it so much. I live in Los Angeles, I want to move somewhere or do something new but I don’t know where or what. I just feel there is more than what I am doing now. I love my life but I am stuck, I hope this article unsticks me.

  74. Christina says...

    I love, love, love this post. It brought tears to my eyes as a 32-almost-33 year old woman who feels like she’s floundering a bit. Joanna & team, would you consider making it a series for the summer? I think we could all use the inspiration! xoxo

    • Becca says...

      Yes! Please make this a series

    • kylie says...

      yes to making this a series!!

    • Vera says...

      Yes! Please continue with this! These are the stories we need.

    • BG says...

      YESSS PLEASE

    • Caroline says...

      Yes! A series!

      And read What Color is Your Parachute and do the flower activity; it will help clear the fog a bit. You’re half way there already: you realized you’re floundering and you don’t want to be. You can do this!

    • Kirsten says...

      Yes, please make this a series!!!!

    • Jennifer Vercelli says...

      Third this as a series! I’m 51 and feeling stuck and bored with my career, like others I feel there is something else out there for me, a second career, school…just not sure how to decide and take action.

  75. Erica says...

    So important to be reminded of all the possibilities. My husband and I also joined Peace Corps as newlyweds, and have often talked about re-joining as retirees, so I’m only more encouraged and inspired. A few years ago I took a trapeze class with my kids and was hooked, and started to take consistent lessons up until the pandemic. It was invigorating to invest in something purely for myself and felt freeing to have a new, physically demanding hobby at age 40. I’m eager to get back to “flying” once I get my 2nd vaccine shot.

  76. Thank you for this article! Such an inspiring and unusual topic to write about! :)
    There are so many preconceived ideas on what you can and can’t do based on your age, so these are good examples showing that doors open when you’re ready to walk through.

  77. Jess says...

    I’m 34 and some of my favorite people to spend time with are women older than me. The resilience and grit they’ve developed through a lifetime of tough stuff (whose life isn’t hard?) gives me perspective and reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. Even JoAnna’s moms advice to “take gentle care of yourself” just resonates and is trustworthy because she’s farther down the road of life than me. I would love wise words from the 50+ crowd regularly!
    Having been home raising kids since 2010 (with no end in sight ha-just found out I’m expecting #4…which by the way was totally unexpected!), I have hope that someday I too could start a new career or run a marathon or join the Peace Corps. This article filled my heart with hope.

  78. Jennifer says...

    I’m jumping on train of people requesting more pieces like this, please! So inspiring.

  79. DD says...

    Thank you for this! I am 51 and just starting a second career as a paraprofessional because I love working with children. My mom returned to school in her early 40s while working full time, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and became an adjunct professor for nearly 20 years before retiring last year. She is my inspiration.

  80. Kate Toussaint says...

    This is the most inspiring post. I have three little kids and it’s been a difficult year, but now hope! Hope! Hope is the thing with wings

    • Kate Toussaint says...

      And also feathers 😊

  81. T says...

    The triathlon story just made me cry a bit…I trained it before we became parents and now I can hardly sqeeze a 2mile run here and there…and I miss the community the most! I was never a group sport person, always doing individual stuff, so joining an organized triathlon group was so out of my comfort zone. But the people there (mostly in their late forties) were the best. I look forward to having more time, to swim in the open water and actually ride my bike for 4hours if i feel like it. Kids are the best, but man, time becomes such a fleeting thing with them…

  82. sabrina kondelis says...

    So inspiring and fills me with hope for the future!

  83. J. says...

    Articles like this is something the CupofJo excels at. Thank you, Kim, for connecting us with these amazing women. This is a terrific way to start my day!!!

  84. Zozo says...

    So inspiring and encouraging Kim. I just got my PhD at 47, now I like to be a triathlon athlete. Because, why not?

  85. Sarah H says...

    This is so awesome! There’s so often a feeling that we have to have it all figured out by our 30’s and if we haven’t then we’ve ‘missed the boat’. So inspiring and comforting and expansive to see that there’s no age limit and that there is much more ahead of us still. Excited for us all to experience that :)

  86. Mary says...

    What a powerful article. Thank you. x

  87. S says...

    What amazing women and accomplishments!! Thanks for showcasing the opportunities in this phase of life!!

  88. Deb says...

    I would like to read MANY more of these please :-). This really made me happy this morning, these people are effin’ fantastic!!

  89. Sienna says...

    More of this quality content! So inspiring.

  90. Cherie says...

    I became a surf lifesaver at age 43! Never thought I could pass my qualification but I did it and its become a great community for me, centred around volunteering, surf sports and lots of social interaction.

  91. Martha says...

    Thank you for this post! I loved it.

  92. Nina says...

    Go watch “Four Mums in a Boat” ! It’s about – you guessed it – four moms who decide to row across the Atlantic. It has a very cool “if you can raise a bunch of rowdy kids you can do anything” vibe, highly recommended :)

    • Rachel says...

      I saw this a couple years ago as part of the Bamff film festival, and it was one of my favorite shorts. Thanks for the reminder!

  93. Lauren says...

    Very much enjoyed this! I left a 10 year legal career last year to go back to full time education and get a masters degree in publishing. I am the oldest in my class by quite a number of years (I’m about to turn 35) and I think some people think I’m mad, but with the golden handcuffs off I can see more clearly that careers aren’t always (and shouldn’t be) linear and there’s a real benefit to developing a range of knowledge and skills. I’d love to read more about others starting new chapters later in life!

  94. Nina says...

    very nice <3

  95. Bella says...

    I know this is about women but I hope this inspires anyone who is restless. After 20 years in retail my husband recently completed a bachelor of commerce majoring in accounting. He studied nights and weekends while simultaneously raising our two little children. We put everything on hold for three years.
    I cried through his entire graduation.

    • Farhana says...

      I wish you and your family all the very best.

  96. Sarah says...

    More of this, please! I’m about to turn 43 and I want to hear how my life is just starting to unfold! I particularly love Evelyn’s mission – it’s shameful how many of us only learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre from Watchmen.

  97. Jodi says...

    How wonderful to see this. I am 50 and am entering my final semester of grad school. I’ll be 51 when I graduate in late August with my MA in clinical mental health counseling!

  98. Josette says...

    An older (mid 60s) friend of mine says you should have friends in multiple decades. Enables you see different paths to aging well and also keeps you young. This feels like a good taste of the former.

  99. Sam says...

    Thank you for this incredibly inspiring post. I’m a new mom approaching my mid-thirties and having a baby in the middle of a pandemic has led to more internal conversations about my own mortality than my life goals. I really needed this.

  100. Jessica says...

    I think this is one of the best things I’ve read this year. I love this! Thank you for sharing these women and their accomplishments!

  101. Erin says...

    so glad to see this post-as a 46 year old woman (still can’t wrap my head around that) it is so helpful to know there are still so many adventures ahead and we keep becoming wiser and braver!!

  102. C says...

    So happy for all of you! Last year I decided to take the leap at age 47 and get my masters in counseling. I think I may have chosen the longest grad school program out there! Before I began a friend said to me, leap and the net will continue to unfold beneath you. Meaning that even if I wasn’t positive exactly the direction I was headed, following my heart was the right direction. Also, as someone else stated, a year will pass, 10 years will pass regardless of whether I went back or not. It’s true, remarkably a year has passed and I now have one year of grad school done!
    Even though I am sometimes worried and almost always overwhelmed with 2 kiddos, a job, and now school, my brain and heart are stretching in remarkable ways.

    • Maryn says...

      “Leap and the net will continue to unfold beneath you. Meaning that even if I wasn’t positive exactly the direction I was headed, following my heart was the right direction.”

      Needed to hear this, as I’m starting my dream grad school program in the fall. I’m terrified, but I’m trying to hold onto the hope that as I follow my heart, “the net will continue to unfold beneath [me].” Thank you.

  103. Oh my gosh I love this so much! I remember in my twenties one of the cool moms I was babysitting for told me that people, especially in the arts, don’t really make it until after 40. It was the first time anyone had said anything like that to me and I found it such a comfort. (And pretty much true.) I try to do my small part to normalize professional accomplishments “later in life” by proudly telling any kid who asks how old I am. (Almost 42!– which seems ancient to a 15 year old, but an 80 year old called me a baby the other day…)

  104. Suma says...

    This is SO inspiring! Please make this a regular post like 4 fun things!

  105. Christina says...

    What an uplifting post. Thanks Kim! Women are awesome!!!

  106. Charlie says...

    This is my favorite post of all time.
    I find it so inspiring, and touching.
    What will I do next? The sky seems like the limit now.

  107. Bree says...

    This is an AMAZING POST!!! I loved it!!! Thank you Kim!!!

  108. This post came at the perfect time! I just quit my job after 15 years and went back to grad school to study architecture and design. I’m a good 15 years than my classmates and probably have more in common with my professors! I’ve been feeling discouraged and disconnected by it all, but I’m ready to take on my finals with a fresh new energy! Thank you for this!

  109. Liz says...

    I’m 43, have been practicing law for the last 14 years, and in 3 weeks I have orientation for my M.Ed. and initial teaching licensure program. Future high school social studies teacher here! I figure I’ve got 20ish years left of work in me (knockwood) and I hate being a lawyer! Pretty excited to be a student and then a teacher!

    • kath says...

      Liz, congrats! That’s so exciting and inspiring for me! I’m 42 and have been a lawyer for what feels like a million years and I can’t stop thinking about quitting and doing something else even though by external/practical standards, I have a perfectly great job and life.

  110. KOP says...

    I love this! Such aspiration from such grounded people! Thanks and kudos for sharing your stories with us.

  111. Hanna says...

    This is just wonderful! Thank you.

  112. Audrey says...

    I’ve been reading Cup of Jo everyday for the past decade and this may be my favorite post. I cried reading it, I found it so inspirational!! I hope you’ll make it a series. Thank you so much for this, Kim + COJ team!

  113. Julie says...

    How inspiring! We often set limits on ourselves- why not go for it! You only live once.

  114. Em says...

    Oh man! This is so inspiring! These stories make this often-tired, overwhelmed Mama feel like there is so much good stuff waiting to come. Thank you!

  115. Lindsay R. says...

    What a fabulous, inspiring piece. Thank you!

  116. September says...

    I am currently on a 7-day 450 mile bike trip. At 47 I’m the youngest person in the group by at least 15 years, and the other women are way faster and more fit than I am! It’s so fun to see what’s possible.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wow that is so awesome!!

    • Wow!

  117. Pip says...

    I’m 38 and I am at Law School. I’ll be 40 the year I graduate, if I graduate on time.

    • Emily says...

      Way to go Pip!!

    • Laurence says...

      Congratulations on taking up this challenge! It’s wonderful and you WILL graduate on time!

    • Alex says...

      Omg awesome Pip! I’m 37 and in medical school. I will also be 40 when I graduate!! Crazy to be around such young people lol, but interesting too!

  118. THB says...

    This might be one of my favourite posts on this blog to date. “This hits different”, maybe because we’re coming out of a year of pandemic and new beginnings feel particularly poignant.

    • Jessica says...

      I agree!

  119. Danae Oratowski says...

    I just graduated from nursing school at age 50. When I was in my late 20’s I wanted to be a doctor, but didn’t have the confidence – and concluded that it was too late! I had such a warped perspective on things – perhaps, at least in part, because I really only knew people my own age and no one who had followed a non-traditional path.
    Role models matter. We all need mentors in our lives and should offer to mentor others when we can.

    • KOP says...

      Yes! Mentor when you can, and seek mentorship from many sources! I’ve been so humbled by my experiences both guiding and asking for guidance. Would you ever consider expanding on the topic of mentorship? It can be hard to navigate if you don’t know how or who or when to ask!

    • Andrea says...

      Congratulations! And thank you! In a pandemic year, the year I had my second baby, and the year I developed tons of health issues for the first time in my life, I am deeply grateful for healthcare workers.

    • Molly G says...

      This is what I want to do!

    • Danae Oratowski says...

      Molly G.. If there’s a way for COJ to put us in touch, I’d be happy to talk with you. Or just google me. I have a very unique name.

  120. Love this! I just turned 41 and it’s so easy for me to feel like I’m old compared to all the people who are doing and achieving cool things. It is always great to hear about all the possibilities that might lie ahead. I hope you’ll do more posts like this!

  121. Jennifer says...

    Another older reader here (60! How did THAT happen?) who was thrilled to find this article here today.

    I homeschooled 2 kids all the way through high school. Thanks to my theater kid, I unearthed my violin from the back of the closet and started playing in pit orchestras for his productions. It turned into a busy free lance and teaching career…. until the pandemic hit, of course.

    The best thing about music is getting to play with people of all ages. I still play quartets with friends who are in the their 80s and 90s, and do gigs with young adults who grew up with my kids.

  122. Melissa Buckley says...

    Such inspirational stories! Love this!

  123. Jan says...

    Thank you for this!!! Over 60 and need inspiration, this is perfect

  124. Lori says...

    For those CoJ readers 50+, I’d like to offer a plug to a group I’m just becoming familiar with – Revel – a community for women over 50 (actually started by two women in their 30s). They have a whole host of events (currently mostly virtual but that is starting to change) for a wide range of interests with outposts across the US. I’ve been impressed with the events I’ve participated in thus far.

    Why I’m linking this particular post with Revel in my head is that they often have women speak at events who have made big shifts later in life. One woman got seriously fit and maybe started competitive weight lifting in her late 60s (incredible)! They also have regular groups to help hold people accountable for working towards making life changes which can often be the push people need. There is a small fee but you can also try it out for free for several months before committing. I don’t know what is next for me, but I want to keep exploring that.
    https://www.hellorevel.com/

  125. j says...

    echoing everyone here – more of this please! more stories of twists and turns of life, finding what you are meant to do, taking risks and having them fail or not. loved this so, so much. more, more, more!!

  126. Jeannie says...

    This is so inspiring. I’ve been contemplating taking a break from my career while my kids are young, and I keep telling myself that I will have opportunities to do things for many many years. And one thing is join the peace corps. This is so affirming!!

  127. Claire says...

    I absolutely adore this post! I would love to see more in this series of women’s accomplishments or things they’re most proud of. (It reminds me of the reader roundups of favorite spots in their homes, favorite outfits, etc.) While reading about “famous” people is also inspiring, there’s something extra special about hearing about the lesser-known people in our world. Who knows if our neighbors are quietly doing something amazing?

  128. jdp says...

    my mom published her first book at 62, and it is both inspiring and somewhat upsetting how much energy she continues to have…

  129. Angela says...

    Thank you for this inspiring post. I think it’s easy to feel like I fall short against all the amazing accomplishments by young people in the spotlight. This is a much needed reminder that age is just a number and life is a marathon not a sprint.

  130. NM says...

    I immediately felt my heart burst with gratitude just seeing the title of this post.
    And I’ve loved reading the comments— it’s is so clear this resonates deeply.
    I think women especially— for so many reasons (most obvious are choices around parenting, but also seems there’s a biological clock attached by society to our relevance in all areas)— this feels like a hot, pressing issue.
    How do we not disappear?
    How do we get to keep evolving and shifting?
    How do we remain interesting to ourselves and the world around us?
    How can we continue to be seen as an individual when we’re nurturing family (or not— a lot is assumed about women’s independence just by virtue of their age).
    So here’s to continuing this discussion!

    • Lulu says...

      HI NM,
      Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant response. In particular, your questions really resonated with me (and I suspect, many others).
      What a wonderful post to wake up to.
      Yes let’s continue this discussion!

      Cheers from Lulu

    • NM says...

      @Lulu ❤️

  131. Jessica says...

    A timely post—I enrolled in college for the first time at the age of 31 and NEXT WEEK, I will officially have a bachelor’s degree in English literature! I will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA, which both blows my mind and, tbh, feels well deserved for how hard I’ve worked. I’m also duel-enrolled in a master’s program, so in another year, I’ll have a graduate degree!
    All of this feels like an incredible accomplishment after spending all of my 20s working minimum wage retail jobs where I felt like a mindless body making sales. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I’m so excited to have accomplished what I have.

    • Patricia says...

      SO PROUD of you Jessica! Congratulations! Your future is bright! :)

    • Hannah says...

      Wow congrats!! I also have a bachelors in English and a masters (journalism). I ended up working at a hospital as a medical writer. There’s a lot you can do with solid communication skills! All the best!

    • Molly says...

      That’s awesome, Jessica. Huge congrats!

    • Paige says...

      Congratulations Jessica!

    • Stacey says...

      Congratulations, Jessica! and 4.0! Color me impressed.

    • Lynn-Holly Fisher Wielenga says...

      Way to go Jessica! A 4.0!!! And soon to have your masters too! That’s awesome. I hope you feel celebrated next week for all of your hard work.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Congrats, Jessica. More power to you.

    • Amy says...

      Wow! I’m impressed. Congrats Jessica!

    • Teresa says...

      Congratulations!

  132. Julee says...

    Thank you so many times over for this! I’m beyond inspired by all of these women. I’m 53 and after reading this, I feel more hope and optimism than I’ve felt in over a year.

  133. Nicole says...

    This is just awesome!! More of this! Thank you:)

  134. Rae says...

    This is the post I have been waiting for! Thank you for featuring these spectacularly inspiring people. It is so meaningful to see full and satisfying lives during the decades that we all hope to live through but seldom see centered in our cultural conversations. Please consider making this a regular feature!

    • Kristen Aspevig says...

      Well said! I agree!

    • A says...

      I would also love to see this as a more regular feature! I hate to think that in my 30s I’ve already done many of the “big” things- I’d love to see what amazing ways women are continuing to enrich their lives!

  135. Nicki says...

    When I was in my 20s, I volunteered for a local organization in Guatemala that helped to accompany poor patients from rural areas into larger towns to seek advanced medical treatments, often in cooperation with visiting medical missions. Once I accompanied several elderly patients and a young girl, who were either blind or near-blind, to get eye surgery for cataracts (a condition where the eye clouds over, resulting in impaired or lost eyesight). An American doctor who I would have guessed to be in his late 50s/early 60s would call the patients one by one, and about 30 minutes later they would emerge from the room with an expression of absolute wonder and joy, because they could suddenly see.

    It was just incredible to witness, and while we had a short wait between patients I couldn’t stop myself from telling the doctor how much I admired his work (the surgeries were done on a pro bono basis). I remarked how rewarding it must feel to literally give people the gift of sight. “How long have you been working here in Guatemala?” I asked him, expecting to hear about his decades-long career as an eye surgeon. He told me it had been only a couple of years, and that he had actually decided to abandon another career after realizing in middle age that what he really wanted to do was to be a doctor.

    I think until that moment, I hadn’t realized that you can decide to change careers later in life. I think of this doctor, and his patients, all the time – and tell myself that if I ever find myself unhappy in my current profession, I will strive to follow his example.

  136. Jen James says...

    Thanks to Kim Rhodes for this great piece. As one of your older readers (ripe age of 53), it’s affirming to see an article aimed at me and my peers. I love this blog and read it daily–keep up the great work.

  137. Jill says...

    In 12 days I will graduate with my bachelor’s degree at the age of 54! That first sip of champagne that I take while watching my virtual graduation will be so so so sweet and delightful!! I am so damn proud of myself! I DID IT!!

    • Jessica says...

      Congrats, Jill!! To complete all that hard word – part of it during a pandemic, no less – is a wonderful accomplishment!

    • Erica says...

      Cheers, Jill!!! Sending you congratulatory wishes from California!!

    • Kathryn says...

      Congratulations Jill & cheers to you on your accomplishment! 🥂

    • Rachel L says...

      Congratulations Jill!! What a wonderful accomplishment. Raising a glass to you! 🥂

    • Amanda says...

      Congratulations!!

    • Danae Oratowski says...

      Congratulations Jill!

    • Van says...

      Congratulations, Jill!

    • Angela says...

      Cheers to you, Jill! Congrats!

    • Court says...

      YES JILL! Congratulations! I have been working on my bachelor’s degree for 20(+) years but I know I’ll also get there one day. So encouraged by your example.

    • Pam says...

      Congrats!!!

    • Kristen Solecki says...

      Amazing, congrats Jill!

    • K says...

      Congratulations!!! As someone thinking about going back to finish my bachelor’s in my late 30s, I love hearing about other “nontraditional” students succeeding.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Congrats, Jill. You’re such an inspiration.

  138. Julee says...

    I salute you brave, inspiring, lovely humans. I want to be all of you when I grow up.
    Thank you for sharing these truly awesome and inspiring stories.

  139. Ellen says...

    This is so uplifting. Thank you!

  140. .S. says...

    Echoing everyone who has said they would love for this to be a regular series!! I’m 32 now and in the data analysis/writing stage of my PhD, after which I hope to leave academia (as a career) forever. We’re hoping to start trying for a baby at the end of this year, and I would love to be home with our kiddos when they’re little (newborn to 6yo are my favourite ages!) but I’m already thinking about the possibility of going back to school in my 40s/50s to retrain as a midwife. It’s so fun and exciting to think about! I loved what Johanna said below “May we all be neither late bloomers nor early bloomers, but perennials” <3

  141. Dani says...

    Thank you I just love this.

  142. Mary from Ohio says...

    I’m 63 (which seems totally impossible). Today, yes, today, I registered a name for a new business in my state. Bought the domain name I wanted. I already got my first check for the new biz and I have 8 jobs booked. Just writing that makes this seem much more real.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is awesome, Mary!!! congratulations.

    • Clare says...

      Go, Mary!