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Excerpted from It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life After 40 by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 1998 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Nothing's over, and it's time to make a movie or study the ocean floor. Or start a poetry journal. Or go to medical school. Or open a bank. Or do anything else you've got the brains and talent to do."

Barbara Sher, It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now, Part 3

Right now this explanation may not make much sense, but it will. And it certainly doesn't make your present situation any easier to bear. Because whatever the reason, your feelings tell you that something has gone wrong. You weren't supposed to stop being young. Not yet. There was so much you wanted to happen, so much that didn't turn out the way you expected. To you, it looks like the dice have been thrown, and this is what you got. The shine is off tomorrow. You have definitely fallen out of love with your life.

Well, I'd like to show you how to fall back in love with it again.

I know this sounds like a tall order. There are lots of books and magazine articles trying to help you cope with the scary changes that are happening to you, but I'm not talking about coping. I don't think you don't need to cope with life; you need to know a new way to live it. And you know perfectly well that you feel too young for the books that tell you how to live after retirement. Even I feel too young for them.

And when great thinkers like Carl Jung say it's time to slow down and begin giving something back to the generations behind us, and Erik Erikson implies that creativity is over and it's time for maintenance, I find myself thinking, "Who are you talking to?"

Nothing's over, and it's time to make a movie or study the ocean floor. Or start a poetry journal. Or go to medical school. Or open a bank. Or do anything else you've got the brains and talent to do.

But great thinkers all agree on one thing, and so do I:

It's time to quit wishing you could stop the clock.

You've got exciting work to do and a whole new way of living to learn, so it's vital that you outgrow your fear of the future as soon as possible. If you don't, you'll waste precious years mourning the loss of youth or, worse, trying to hang on to it.

Look at this all-too-typical scenario: You wake up one day and you're forty. Shock sets in, and you use the next ten or fifteen years fighting the "downward spiral" with everything you've got. You start joining gyms and getting face-lifts; you dream of driving through your birthday cake in a red Bronco or running off with someone half your age. If none of that makes you feel young again--which it won't--you might even decide to sell all your worldly goods, buy a sailboat or a Winnebago, and disappear into the sunset.

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