New Year, New You
3 Women Who Prove It's Never Too Late
As we get older, it can feel like we’re running out of time. The reality is that many of us have a lot ahead, no matter our age. It's never too late to start a business, switch careers, pack up and move abroad, or anything else. CircleAround is highlighting three women who made major shifts later in life to show that anything is possible at any age. Their stories may inspire you to go after that dream you’ve yet to achieve and that your prime may still be ahead of you.
1Pat Bennett Started Her Own Granola Business at 61
While most people dream of retiring after turning 60, Pat Bennett was just getting started. Her love of making granola for her son inspired her to create a healthier version of the snack. Soon, friends, parents, and more were buying her homemade granola and asking when she would go into business.
“A seed was being planted about my future business,” she tells CircleAround. “However, I didn’t do the serious work on turning this food product into a business until 25 years later.”
At 61, Pat’s Granola officially hit the market. To help her get the business up and running, Bennett sought support from Ohio-based incubator and entrepreneur programs, as well as her close friends and family.
Bennett’s granola was especially popular during the pandemic, when shelf-stable products were in demand and essential workers were in need of healthy snacks to sustain them on the job. She’s now using her time to launch the brand digitally, with hopes of expanding nationally.
“My ‘What’s next?’ includes … continued dedication to the mission of creating foods that are delicious and good for you and convenient for health-conscious people who have busy lifestyles,” she tells CircleAround.
2Lisa Beach Overcame a 10-Year Career Gap at 49
Life never moved in a linear way for Lisa Beach, who went from working in corporate communications to owning her own publishing business to becoming a stay-at-home mom. When her sons were grown, she wanted to get back into writing at age 49, but worried her 10-year career gap would prevent her from obtaining substantial job offers.
“Even though I had 25 years of writing experience under my belt, I discovered that I’m now an experienced newbie trying to reclaim my stake in the business world as I learn new lingo and get up to speed on the latest technology,” she tells CircleAround. “Throw in a decade of new technology to master … and I started wondering how long it would take to shake off the grogginess of my Rip Van Winkle career nap.”
Many would have let the intimidation of these new skills prevent them from moving on, but Beach embraced the challenge in a creative way. She created a humor blog called Tweenior Moments, which she describes as “a wordplay on the phrase “senior moments” for a younger, not-quite-ready-for-AARP crowd.” Through blogging, she was able to master the kinds of technological skills many businesses now seek.
Her casual blogging fueled her passion for writing once more, and soon she was pitching to a new crowd of editors, built up a new base of copywriting clients, and was even published in The New York Times. Her perseverance allowed her to reclaim career satisfaction and disprove the idea that a career gap is a career killer.
“I’ve survived thousands of diapers, the terrible twos, sibling rivalry, picky eaters, homework battles, teaching my sons to drive, and the teenage years,” she states. “A midlife career reboot? I got this.”
3Holly Herrmann Moved to Her Dream Country and Started Over at 58
Holly Herrmann was 20 years old when she first came to Italy to participate in a piano competition. She fell in love with the people, culture, and pasta, and she dreamed of making it her home some day. Like many people, however, life moved in a different direction; her career and family kept her busy in Seattle, but through all of the typical life changes, the desire to live abroad was always in the back of her mind.
“A few times a year my kids would hear me say, ‘When I’m old, I’m going to move to Italy,’” Herrmann said in an interview for The New York Times. “The last time I said it, which was in 2015, my daughter said, ‘Why do you say when you’re old? Why don’t you make it happen now?’ That really struck me.”
In 2016, Herrmann got the chance to see Italy once more. It was the trip that convinced her and her recently retired husband that the dream of living in Italy could still come true, no matter what age they were. She sold her piano and took Italian lessons; 38 years later, she and her husband live in a town 30 minutes outside of Venice.
“Do a test run to see if you’re suitable for this kind of life and if it makes you happy or uncomfortable,” she advises in the interview. “I had a strong drive to do this. If you’re compelled to do something, you should attempt to do it.”
4The Bottom Line
As our lives get busier and are filled with new experiences, it can feel like time is running out for the dreams we had when we were younger. Pat Bennett, Lisa Beach, and Holly Herrmann are just a few courageous women who didn’t let fear or their age get in the way of their goals. Take inspiration from their stories and go after what makes you happy.