Why It´s Never Too Late

16 Oct

I wonder if it is possible to read the text below without having your perspective changed. It´s not fictional, it´s a true story that I picked up from Elizabeth Gilbert´s latest book on creative living. Read and enjoy:

“I knew Winifred back in the 1990´s, in Greenwich Village. I first met her at her ninetieth birthday party, which was quite a wild bash. (…) Winifred was the most vividly alive woman I had ever met in my young life, so one day, looking for inspiration, I asked her. “What´s the best book you´ve ever read?”

She said, “Oh darling. I could never narrow it down to just one book, because so many books are important to me. But I can tell you my favourite subject. Ten years ago, I began studying the history of ancient Mesopotamia, and it became my passion, and let me tell you –it has totally changed my life.”

For me, at the age of twenty-five, to hear a ninety-year-old widow speak of having her life changed by passion (and so recently!) was a revelation. (…) But as I learned more about Winifred´s passion, what struck me most was that she was now an acknowledged expert in the history of ancient Mesopotamia. She had given that field of study an entire decade of her life, after all –and if you devote yourself to anything diligently for ten years, that will make you an expert. (That´s the time it would take to earn two master´s degrees and a doctorate.) She had gone to the Middle East on several archaeological digs; she had learned cuneiform script; she was friendly was the greatest scholars and curators on the subject; she had never missed a related museum exhibit or lecture when it came to town. People now sought out Winifred for answers about ancient Mesopotamia, because now she was the authority.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, p 144 -145)


6 Responses to “Why It´s Never Too Late”

  1. Myriam Dings October 16, 2015 at 18:57 #

    90?! Ik ben nog een snotneus – alles is nog mogelijk…. whoow…

  2. costalesage October 19, 2015 at 17:40 #

    Echt inspirerend! Waaw! Bedankt, Kathleen!

    • Kathleen October 20, 2015 at 08:57 #

      Graag gedaan Kristien! Af en toe kom ik zo´n pareltje tegen en dan is het fijn ze te kunnen delen 🙂

  3. Stefan January 31, 2019 at 21:55 #

    I’m trying to find out more about Winifred, but suspiciously nothing is coming up on Google except for this post. Does anybody have more information on her?

    • Kathleen February 1, 2019 at 13:16 #

      If she was already in her nineties in the 1990´s, I don´t think she´s the kind of person you´d find on the internet… Also, the fact that she was an “expert” doesn´t really mean that she was a very well known figure -after all, her field of expertise was Mesopotamia (not exactly rock-´n-roll), and I suppose her importance might have been exaggerated by the author, for the sake of the story 😉

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