I’ve had dreams for my life as far back as I can remember. I wanted to be a rock star (attended my first arena concert at the age of eleven), bookstore owner, world traveler, famous author and more. What I wanted most of all was to be a great writer. Like many people, my dreams fell by the wayside as I became an adult, went to work, and had children.
Over the years I have worked many jobs. Many were physically demanding, mentally exhausting, or both. I began working at the age of fourteen in a small country store. After high school I went to work as a mechanic. I got married (and later divorced), and had three daughters. The years passed and I bounced from one career path to another. I have turned wrenches, poured concrete, sold insurance, built bridges, and fed livestock. I’ve done videography (including a gubernatorial race in Kentucky), waded in sewers, laid water pipe, managed a thriving massage studio, created training programs, consulted, and started businesses. I have loved and I have lost. I have succeeded and I have failed more times than I can remember. The months turned into years, and the years into decades.
Until my three daughters were full-grown, my focus was on doing whatever it took to ensure they had what they needed. Naturally, I still feel that way but they are all self-sufficient now. I remember thinking a few years ago, when the last of my three daughters went out on her own, that I was entering a new era in my life. Memories of the dreams I had as a young boy came flooding back. Along with that came a sense of sadness. Was it too late? Was I too old? Was it still possible to chase a dream?
Looking back, all I could see was years of hard labor and no solid trajectory as far as a career was concerned. I felt lost. The thing I wanted most was to be a writer, but I had never seriously pursued it. As a young boy, I fell in love with books and my first author hero was Louis L’Amour. I read all of his books, and read them over and over again. I began to consider Mr. L’Amour and the interesting life he led. Before writing his first western in 1953, at the age of 45, he had been a lumberjack, elephant handler, officer on a tank destroyer during World War II, circled the world on a freighter, and shipwrecked in the West Indies. He even boxed professionally for a while, winning fifty-one of fifty-nine fights.
The more I thought about the life of Louis L’Amour, the more I came to realize how my life up to that point had prepared me to be exactly who I had always wanted to be- a writer. While my life had not been as interesting as Mr. L’Amour’s, it was still interesting and had supplied me with a lifetime’s worth of varied experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. What I thought had been random experiences had in fact equipped me to make my dream a reality.
I am not famous, but I have written four books with more on the way. I have blogged for years, written newspaper articles, ghostwritten for a Texas-based book-writing company, and wrote this article you are reading now. Regardless of what happens from here, my dream came true.
I shared this story for one purpose. To show you that it’s not too late, and you’re not too old. It does not matter if you are approaching thirty, fifty, or eighty years of age. There are dreams inside of you that have been there for a long time. Your life experience has prepared you more than you may realize. Maybe, like me, you’ve been wondering if there’s still a chance to live your dreams and if you can do it.
There is, and you can.