by Carol Roan

If you have a story to tell, a story that’s been running through your head for years, it’s time to begin writing. No one else knows that story and how it ends.

If you’ve ever had an experience that changed your life, it’s time to begin writing. No one else had your epiphany in a New Jersey lecture hall, or in a French mountain village.

If you have hard-earned knowledge that you’d like to pass on to the next generation, it’s time to begin writing. No one else has figured out why your start-up software company failed and knows the lessons you learned from that failure.

If you remember your pride as you walked past blue stars hanging in your neighbor’s windows during World War II and your sense of loss when a gold star replaced the blue, it’s time to begin writing. No one else has your memories. No one else has the same perspective on the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s.

Your creative ability isn’t limited by age. Your brain is still ready and able to add new cells, to make new connections, and to learn a new craft. You’ve learned by now that learning is about process, not about memorization or rules. You’ve learned where and how to find the information you’ll need to begin a new stage of life. You’ve learned how to trust yourself and how to work through your fears and doubts. You’ve learned what gives your life meaning and what needs to be left behind.

Until we reach fifty, how we live is colored by our futures—those we expect to have and those we imagine are possible. After fifty, our perspectives take on the hues of both past and future—tinted by memories of past loves and joys, stained by memories of war and suffering, and made more poignant by the knowledge that this spring’s blooms or this morning’s cup of coffee with a friend may be the last and must be savored fully.

On Sunday, September 24, at 2 pm, Greensboro Bound will sponsor “Writing As The Third Act: Writers over 50 on Craft, Creativity, and Aging” at Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, in Greensboro. Come join a conversation with four of us who began our writing careers after we were fifty, and learn why it’s never too late to start writing.