“This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own”. This past weekend I spent four days in New Orleans working with a brand for the Essence Festival as their Social Media Manager. If your unfamiliar with the Essence Festival it’s a huge event that takes place around the Fourth of July every year and a plethora of ladies all come together to celebrate one another and in a nutshell have a girls weekend away from their normal lives. This is probably my third Essence Festival and I can still remember my very first experience attending I knew that I would one day return as an entrepreneur. If I can be honest I didn’t know how or when it would happen but I felt in my soul that it’s never to late. Well at least that’s what I kept telling myself. That first year I was working with a brand as an influencer and since it was my first time as a newbie in this game I had no idea what doors it would later open in the future. I just kept telling myself it’s never too late to follow your dreams.The second year that I attended I wasn’t with a brand but I was there with a client from Atlanta for a Influencer Activation with songstress Ledisi. I guess you could call it a manifestation of my thoughts and words that I uttered to myself…it’s never too late to follow your dreams.Fast forward to 2018 I was speechless as I walked into the Convention Center heading to the Creme of Nature booth for the weekend’s social media activation. I have worked with them many times before but this specific time felt so different. Different in a great way. This time I was there as a business owner. I was there as an entrepreneur. I noticed that so many brands had what we call “millennial” influencers as their brand ambassadors for the weekend. I noticed that in one area there was a lack of older beautiful African American Women representation. You know ages 37 and up. It appeared that the old had been replaced by the new. I begin to think to myself is that because we all get caught in the age myth that were too old or not young enough? That may be the case for some but for me it’s definitely not an issue. It’s never too late to follow your dreams. It’s totally okay to feel like you can have the same opportunity as millennial’s because I definitely do. After all isn’t age just a number? Over the past few years working in both the beauty and entertainment industry it has became apparent to me that even at the age of 42 I have never been one to listen to age myths. The vibe that I received from working with a younger version of myself who is also an influencer gave me my second wind. This weekend I observed so many moving parts in both the beauty industry and the influencer world. It all led me back to remembering the reason why I started and what decisions led me to take the entrepreneur leap. I recalled that day that I received the call from my family owned’s business human resource manager telling me that my dad had finally decided after a year of being diagnosed with prostate cancer to sell all of our brands. I felt myself crying because all I could think was that I had put so much on hold to assist as much as I could and now I would find myself basically jobless. I had dibbled and dabbled with blogging but it was side hustle. I had just purchased a home. I had student loans. Debt. Kids. Hell what was I going to do? I remember praying and asking God for guidance.After laying in bed for what seemed like three months spiraling into a depression I decided one day that I would start practicing yoga (which society labels with age restrictions) and work towards turning my part-time blogging hobby into a full-time career. I envision that my future goals would be to eventually launch my own media company. A few years went by and as I continued to improve my yoga practice I found that my career as a full-time blogger was going extremely slow.
Disrupting the aging myth of it’s never too late to follow my dreams led me to work towards getting a short-term client here and there. I thought to myself Turkesha it’s not too late to live your dreams. You just have to get your butt up and build! Trust me it takes hard work to accomplish your goals and you have to be willing to be patient. I begin reading articles about what society would consider late bloomers in the industry and I was amazed to learn about their stories:
- Ava DuVernay who never picked up a camera until after she was 32.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 years old when her first book, Little House In he Big Woods was published.
- Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company that he co-founded. His second act actually turned out to be bigger and better than his first at the age of 42.
- Donna Karan launched her launched her Donna Karan New York (DKNY) line at the age of 40.
- Jerry Seinfeld was 33 when he developed the sitcom Seinfeld for NBC with fellow comedian Larry David.
It’s refreshing to take a glimpse into their lives and learn how these successful people all broke the disrupting age myth and took the leap to start living dreams and never gave up on their hearts desire.