Life Begins After 50

Posted By Guest on September 07, 2009

Many people turn fifty and start planning for retirement, while others look forward to fulfilling their life's dreams.

Whether it's focusing on a new career - or discovering a rewarding hobby - many successful late achievers find a craft or profession they enjoy, and are often rewarded with more happiness, security - and much less stress.

A few people who didn't let age stand in their way:

Harland Sanders

Harland Sanders

Kentucky Fried Chicken
Founded KFC at 62
1890 - 1980 (age 90)

Harland Sanders owned a small gasoline station in Corbin, Kentucky, where he converted a portion of his living quarters at the station to serve customers chicken dishes that he prepared in a back room. As local popularity grew for his chicken, he moved to a motel restaurant and worked as the chef.

After the construction of Interstate 75 reduced customer traffic at the restaurant, in 1952 at age 62, Sanders started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants using $105 from his first Social Security check to fund visits to potential franchisees.

You got to like your work - because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference.

- Harland Sanders

Sanders credits his accomplishments to enjoying what he does, saying “You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it - because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference.”

The next several years were an overwhelming success, and Sanders sold his Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation a dozen years later in 1964 for $2 million (almost $14 million in today's dollars). Now a division of Yum! Brands, there are more than 14,000 KFC restaurants in 80 countries.

Orville Redenbacher

Orville Redenbacher

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn
Co-founder of Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn at 58
1907 - 1995 (age 88)

Orville Redenbacher spent most of his life in the agriculture industry, serving as a Farm Bureau extension agent in Indiana, and later at Princeton Farms in Princeton, Indiana.

Since his childhood Redenbacher had an obsession for developing the perfect popcorn hybrid.

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn was founded by Orville Redenbacher and Charles F. Bowman in 1965 when Redenbacher was 58. To this day it is still the #1 selling brand of popcorn.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc

McDonald's Corporation
Bought first McDonald's franchise at 52
1902 - 1984 (age 82)

Ray Kroc was a milkshake mixer salesman, who traveled the country looking for opportunities to sell his machines to restaurants.

While visiting one of his customers in 1954, at age 52, Ray Kroc decided to buy what was (at the time) a small-scale McDonald's Corporation franchise. Over the next few decades, Kroc built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world, amassing a $500 million personal fortune in the process.

If you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.

- Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc credits his success to the love he had for his business, and putting a priority on his customers, saying "If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."

Today, McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, with 31,000 McDonald's around the world, serving 47 million customers every day.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

B-List Actor to Successful Politician
California Governor at age 56
U.S. President at age 70
1911 - 2004 (age 93)

Ronald Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in 1937, where he began a career in filmmaking and later television, making 52 films. Often described as a "B-List" actor, Reagan often joked, "the producers didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday."

Reagan's political aspirations were seen as early as 1947 when he was elected President of the Screen Actors Guild. More B-films followed until he joined the campaign of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater in 1964. Reagan stressed his belief in the importance of smaller government in a fundraising speech called "Time for Choosing" that helped catapult his political career and resulted in his nomination for Governor of California.

My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose.

- Ronald Reagan

During his political rise in troubling times, Reagan always maintained his considerable wit. Among his more notable political quotes: "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." And what some might consider timeless: "Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets."

Reagan also had an inspirational outlook on life: "My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose."

From B-List actor to the Governor of California in 1967, 56-year-old Ronald Reagan wasted no time putting his philosophy of life to work. He was elected to two terms, then after leaving the Governor's office in 1975, he would become the 40th President of the United States six years later at age 70.

Today, Ronald Reagan is generally regarded as one of the most popular American Presidents, with a legacy that often credits him with the peaceful end to the Cold War.

Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses

American Folk Artist
Started painting at age 78
1860 - 1961 (age 101)

Anna Mary Robertson Moses (better known as "Grandma Moses") began painting in her seventies after abandoning a career in embroidery because of arthritis.

An art collector first discovered her paintings in a Hoosick Falls, New York drugstore window in 1938. In 1939, art dealer Otto Kallir exhibited some of her work in his Galerie Saint-Etienne in Manhattan. This brought her to the attention of collectors all over the world, where her paintings were in high demand.

Painting's not important. The important thing is keeping busy.

- Grandma Moses

While her paintings are what made her famous, she was also aware of what was truly important in her life: "Painting's not important," Grandma Moses once said, "The important thing is keeping busy."

Grandma Moses was a prolific painter, generating over 3,600 canvasses in 3 decades. Before her fame, she would charge $2 for a small painting and $3 for a large. In November 2006, her work Sugaring Off sold at auction for $1.2 million.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Professional Singer
Oldest female artist to have a #1 single at age 44
Sellout 90-venue world concert tour at age 68
1939 - (age 69)

Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock) is a singer whose career has spanned more than 50 years.

Born in Nutbush, Tennessee, Tina's career began in 1957 at the age of 18 when she became a vocalist for Ike Turner's band in St. Louis. Mainstream success started rolling in during the early 1960s, when she recorded the song "A Fool in Love," reaching #2 on the charts. There were a string of hits during that decade, including "Proud Mary," "I Want to Take You Higher," and "River Deep, Mountain High."

I will never give in to old age until I become old.

- Tina Turner

The 1970s ushered in a decline in popularity for Tina Turner. Add to this, Tina's personal life and marriage began to fail, as her then-husband Ike's drug use led to increasingly erratic and physically abusive behavior. After leaving Ike in 1976, Tina's career stalled until she released the single "What's Love Got to Do with It" in 1984.

At age 44, she was the oldest female artist to have a number-one single.

Tina Turner in Concert

Tina continued to put out the hits during the eighties and nineties, including "Simply the Best," "What's Love Got to Do with It," "Nutbush City" and "Twenty Four Seven."

In 2005, Tina Turner was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and was elected to join an elite group of entertainers.

If you are unhappy with anything ... whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it.

- Tina Turner

Through all of her struggles and success, Tina has remained independent - and secure about her age. In her book, I, Tina: My Life Story, she says "If you are unhappy with anything ... whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”

As far as aging, Tina considers it to be a mindset: “I will never give in to old age until I become old,” she says.

At age 68, Tina recently sold out every worldwide venue for her "Tina: 50th Anniversary Tour" (90 shows in more than 15 countries). This was her first tour in eight years, since her record-breaking "Twenty Four Seven Tour." For those lucky enough to see it, they know Tina is still "Simply the Best."

Millie Garfield

Millie Garfield

Blogger and Story Teller Extraordinaire
Started blogging at age 78
1925 - (age 84)

At 84 years young, Millie Garfield is one of the Internet's oldest bloggers, according to The Ageless Project. With an authentic and humorous voice, a knack for story telling and frequent updates, Millie's blog, My Mom's Blog, shows that people want to hear from someone with a story to tell.

As Elisa Camahort writes in her article, Women Bloggers: Changing Their Worlds, Changing the World, "Millie has discovered an entirely new world full of friends from all over the world and ideas from all over the map."

Millie doesn't have the time to wonder whether blogging 'keeps her young' ... it keeps her too busy.

- Elisa Camahort

Camahort continues, "We've probably all seen older relatives whose worlds seem to grow smaller as they age. Their friends die or move away; their family may shrink; their physical health may prevent them from getting out and about like they did. Physical and emotional isolation are detrimental to anyone's health, let alone those whose condition may already be vulnerable. Blogging represents a way to expand our world and to stay connected to it." Camahort adds, "Millie doesn't have the time to wonder whether blogging 'keeps her young' ... it keeps her too busy."

What Was Their Secret?

They All Found Something They Enjoyed Doing

Late achievers not only enjoy their occupation, but the life experience of a person over fifty generally equips them with much more knowledge and wisdom than a person just starting out on their career path.

Many can use that edge to develop an opportunity that not only serves a need, but also provides a lot of personal enjoyment and gratification in the process.

From the Chicago Sun-Times Yesterday:

At 97, Lee Martin may be the oldest bartender in Chicago - plenty of reason for a party at Richard's Bar.

"Nobody believes me when I tell them my age anyway," said Martin, who turned 97 Friday. "They think I'm in my 60s or 70s. I have to show them my ID." The soft-spoken Missouri-bred bartender works three days a week at Richard's Bar, a Rat Pack-themed River West tavern.

"I've worked here 40 years and seen flashers, mooners and hookers and three different owners... and I'll be here till the place closes," said Martin.

While I would hope we could make some accomplishments at any age - many of us don't.

I think it's great to see people catch their "second wind" to do things for themselves, since we often spend our life up to retirement doing things for our families and others.

Tony made a good point about building self esteem and doing "something" during the retirement years. I've seen much of the same, where sadness and loneliness raises its ugly head, and disgruntlement sets in.

A lot of the resulting negativity is probably a plea for attention, but many can overcome this by simply going after a late-in-life vocation or hobby that they truly enjoy doing.

In addition to finding something meaningful to do in ones life, I think the prescription for longevity also includes love. Having family and friends who care about you (and you, them) goes a long way toward happiness, contentment, and personal fulfillment.

I think having something you enjoy doing makes a person more confident and independent, and much easier to love and be loved.

I've spent considerable time with older people that sit around doing virtually nothing but complain about everything from their health - to the weather and their daughter-in-law.

Accomplishing something (anything!) and staying busy, whether it's in business, art, cooking, charity work, or being a great gardener, helps build personal esteem which often translates to a positive personality and attitude seen by others.

Most people tend to be drawn to those that are upbeat
- regardless of their age.

Great Article. Now I need to think about what I want to do.

I can't sing like Tina, and I can't write like Millie.... hmmmm... but I have a lot on my mind that I'd like to spill on the world. Maybe I'll look into that blogging thing.

Hey Tina and Millie... You GO Girls!

We can die at any time (young or old), but my recently turning 50 made me start thinking a lot more about what time I have left, and what legacy I will have before being dropped under the tulips.

These personal stories are quite inspiring and I look forward to making a comittment to myself to enjoy life to the fullest - while going after a few projects that I've been putting off for too many years.

Also: Good luck Julie. Your name looks like it was made for a book cover!

Thank you Jan, what a nice comment to make!!!! Sounds like you were inspired by the stories too. Interesting you wrote about your legacy. My son's legacy and then my own is the reason I am still here. I just knew I did not want to leave a trail of pain when others thought about us, but had the mental tools to work through a mother's worst nightmare and start to develop a legacy that others could learn from and lean when needed.

Julie

My only child was killed by a drinking driver less than a month after I turned 50 years old last year. We were and are the best of friends, just like my mother and I were and are. It would have been easier for me to give up and let go. My life has been completely changed forever. I have learned so much in the year since Gabriel took a turn in his journey and now I am living & practicing what I have learned. So many people tell me to write, write and write some more, because I am such a good story teller..........after reading your article, I am going to sign up for a writing class at the local college to get started. I bought several "how to" books a couple of years ago, but did not finish them.

Remember my name.........