Viral Twitter Thread Proves You're Never Too Old To Pursue Your Passion

"Telling someone they're 'too old' to do something denies their gifts to the world, and how dare any of us do that."

When it comes to success stories, society often fixates on the young. Popular media frequently praises the accomplishments of young artists and entrepreneurs, publishing "30 Under 30" lists each year to emphasize the power of youth. But, as thought leader Charlotte Clymer's recent Twitter thread proves, age isn't a factor when it comes to pursuing your passion or achieving your dreams.

To prove her point, Clymer shared the story of an unlikely actress who, after quitting her job as a psychiatric nurse and divorcing her husband, achieved massive success later in life. Late-actress Kathryn Joosten was motivated by her mother's deathbed confession and, despite the ageist naysayers who said she was too old to start afresh, she persevered and worked tirelessly until her efforts ultimately paid off.

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According to Clymer, this aspiring actress "made a bumpy transition into acting" over the next 10 years. She painted houses and hung wallpaper to support herself and her children, all while slowly learning her craft and winning parts in local theatre productions. Then, in 1990, at age 50, this actress was hired as a street performer at Disney World.

"She built up her confidence, and after a year there, moved to LA to make a full-court push for her dream," Clymer explained. "Imagine the harsh critiques at this point. Friends and family looking at this incredulously. 'You're making a mistake.' 'Who's going to hire a 50 year-old woman?'"

"Over the next several years, she worked hard and won guest roles on a long list of notable television shows of the '90s: E.R., Seinfeld, Frasier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Home Improvement, etc. She just kept driving. She was making enough money doing what she loved," Clymer added.

"I bring this up because I hate ageism," Clymer tweeted. "I hate the way we strip older folks of their humanity by asserting that they can't do something not on the basis of their ability or competence but the date on their birth certificate. As though they just need to accept their lot past 50."

"If someone decides in their 50s, 70s, 90s or whatever that they want to go to medical school or become an actor or open a business or run for office, who in the hell are we to say they can't?" she added. "If you love something and you're willing to put in the work and meet the standards of excellence in an ethical way, why should age ever matter? Telling someone they're "too old" to do something denies their gifts to the world, and how dare any of us do that."

"We should all be so lucky to have that drive and inspiration and reject the naysayers of the world who view dreams as subject to the perceived and arbitrary nature of a number," Clymer concluded. "Stop shaming folks because of age. If they can deliver, honor that. We're all better off."

As many of Clymer's followers noted, while they were familiar with Joosten's work, few knew the details behind her journey to success. Thus, while Joosten's life proves it's never too late to pursue your passion, her backstory also highlights that spectators rarely recognize the sacrifices made because they only see the end result. As Susan Elizabeth Phillips once said, "Anything worth having is worth fighting for." We must look to Clymer's tweets and Joosten's life as evidence that, no matter our age, we can achieve our dreams as long as we're willing to do the work.

Cover image via Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

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