Sunday Mail Column for Sunday 13th June 2010: the one about life after 40
It was one of those reality TV moments we’ve seen a million times before. Dom, the over-40 Charity CEO had his head in the guillotine following a dud Black Forest Cake. George grimly asked, Why should we keep you here? Actually it probably wasn’t George. George is always eating – hunched over his food and gulping it down like a fugitive. I think it was Matt the Cravat.
So Dom tears up and mumbles how he’s over 40 and Master Chef is his last chance to grab a new career.
We all nodded. Because he was right. Once you’re over 40 nobody wants you. You’re about as popular as Jason Akermanis at Mardi Gras.
So Dom was right? Um, not exactly. Matt Preston flicked his hair (as he does) and reminded Dom the best chefs in the world are older. So if you want this dream – there’s no excuse not to go for it.
Preston knows what he’s talking about. This imposing, late 40s, eccentric food critic with swashbuckling hair and fabulous repartee has reinvented himself as a TV star. And he’s one of the best things to happen to TV in a long time. Which is why when surrounded by a sea of Gen Y starlets with washboard abs he walked off with the Logie Award for Outstanding New Talent. At the age of 48.
So what can you and I get from this? It’s never too late.
Another example of someone doing a career-change when forty is in their rear vision mirror is new Brisbane author Kate Hunter. After twenty years as an advertising guru, Kate decided in 2008 to have a go at writing a kids book. That book, Mosquito Advertising: The Parfizz Pitch, came out last week and let me tell you – it’s a cracker.
It’s a modern day Famous Five set in Toowong. Imagine this: a group of fourteen-year-olds set up their own advertising agency (in a bid to save a local soft drink company) and decide to take on the big guns.
The second book in the series is nearly complete. A third is being planned. I’d be surprised if a TV series doesn’t follow. Believe me when I tell you – Mosquito Advertising: the Parfizz Pitch is a must-read for readers aged 10-15. My prediction is that a signed copy on your bookshelf could set you up for retirement in ten years time.
So there’s Kate. And there’s Matt. And they’ve both had the courage to take that leap of faith. I can just feel you getting ready to email me with tales of mortgages and school fees and a million other reasons why you can’t fulfil your dreams. But remember – Preston still works as a food critic. Kate is still dabbling in advertising. No one is saying you have to chuck in your full time job to fulfil your dream. Start small. Put aside an hour or two on the weekends. Do a course. Just have a go.
Here endeth the lesson.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.