A retired accounts payable manager, Patricia currently resides in Colorado with her husband and their best friend, Katie Cat. Patricia is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, International Thriller Writers, and Northern Colorado Writers. She is the co-editor of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog (http://rmfw.org/blog/). Visit her personal blog at http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com. Patricia can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/patricia.stoltey), Twitter (https://twitter.com/PStoltey), Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1105939.Patricia_Stoltey), and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/115494264819086899639/posts).
I’m an older writer who didn’t get serious about this new vocation until I retired from real world work. Back then, I had jobs as a tax accounting clerk, an accounts payable clerk, an accounting supervisor, then manager, and finally a manager of financial control for a major office supply company. That was quite a ride, but this journey I’m on now is even better.
I’m convinced the things that keep us young are our curiosity, our creativity, and our newfound ability to escape the “way we always did it” and create a new “way we do it now.”
President George H. W. Bush went skydiving on his 90th birthday. Grandma Moses began painting seriously when she was 78 years old. Helen Hooven Santmyer was in her 80s and in a nursing home when she finished And Ladies of the Club, an 1100+ page novel that became a bestseller.
Right in my own town, I know a lady runner in her 70s, Libby James (http://libbyjames.net/), who has gained a fine reputation as an athlete. Now she’s writing a newspaper column and wrote a creative non-fiction piece based on her travels in Africa. She also penned a picture book for kids called Muffin Magic.
We are the folks who can voluntarily make those life changes and have fun doing it.
But what if drastic life changes are dumped on us through accident? What if we discover we have a devastating disease, or our running days are cut short by arthritis, or we come home from a military deployment minus a limb?
There’s a community of heroes who had drastic life changes forced on them, and they offer an answer.
Think of Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack when she was just thirteen years old. She’s married now, surfing again, and she and her husband were on the adventure of a lifetime by competing in “The Amazing Race” on CBS television. This young woman tried all kinds of things she hadn’t done before and excelled beyond belief. And she did it with one arm.
Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen broke her back in a snowmobile accident and was paralyzed, yet she’s out there in her wheelchair, inspiring and motivating everyone she meets. She’s working with robotic legs, and she has managed to peddle a stationary bike as she works to regain her strength and movement.
I’m sure you know folks who face similar challenges and aren’t afraid to try new things that replace those careers, habits, and goals they had before. They’ll do what it takes to make a new life, even if it means changing everything they ever imagined their life would be.
So what’s stopping us, especially if our challenges and changes are small ones compared to those Bethany and Amy faced?
There are no excuses worthy of our time. If I can start writing seriously at age sixty, then I could just as easily become a nature photographer or a painter at seventy-two. As long as I’m alive, it’s never too late to try something new.
We just need to do it.