Changing Direction: It’s Not Too Late to Be Who You Want to Be

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~C.S. Lewis

Growing up, people always saw me as the over-achiever and said, “That girl is really going to make something of herself one day.”

I often felt the pressure of having to live up to these expectations.

I recently turned 30 and it was a day of reflection for me. I always had this idea that by the time I turned 30, I'd be one of the top celebrities in South Africa, living the life of a talented singer, a self-made millionaire, driving a fancy car, living in a big mansion—the works!

I realized I was merely living up to an idea I had in my head of what success meant to me.

Perhaps what I wanted was a tad unrealistic.

I've always been told to dream big and have gone through many ups and downs working toward these goals, but at some point I decided to change my direction.

I had to grow up and realize that perhaps these things I wanted just weren't in the cards for me, and that maybe, in realizing my true potential, I first had to be content with that notion.

When I did this, I realized what I definitely wanted in my life, and it couldn't have happened at a more perfect time.

I have my day job (of course); I work in the web industry as a developer and I love it. I enjoy the people I work with and I’m excited to come to work every day.

It's just that lately, I’ve started thinking about where my life is headed and how I want contribute to this world and do my part to make it a better place.

I love helping others with their personal problems. People have always told me I'm an excellent listener and advice-giver, and that I am wise beyond my years.

It took me a while to get to the point in my life where I feel content with myself as a person. With all my past experiences, I am able to help others, but I always felt I should be doing this on a professional level too.

I wanted to study psychology but never really did anything about it because, when I was younger, I felt I didn't want to become a financial burden for my folks. I had this terrible excuse that I just couldn't afford to go to college, and never even plucked up the courage to ask my folks about it for fear of rejection. In retrospect, I see that was a blessing.

I have all this life experience now—something I wouldn't have had if I’d decided to do it sooner.

I have reached an age where I am starting to really value the importance of quality in my life and I believe that everything happens for a reason—that things happen at the time they are meant to.

I may be a little “late” at experiencing certain events considered to be the expected norm, but who are others to judge me, right? All that matters is that I am at peace and content with where I am in my life, that I am taking steps to working toward my future, and on my way to making my dream a reality.

I have also made peace with the fact that it's okay to take the long way around.

Why should I feel I have to flourish overnight on a new direction when I could first take the time to grow my roots and cover all the groundwork? Then, when I eventually have the things I've always dreamed of, I'll not only be ready, but strong enough to handle it!

So, with 2013 in full swing, I have made the decision to pursue my dream of being a professional psychologist, and even get my PHD.

I contacted a university in my area and will be applying to do a part-time course. It's going to take me so much longer to finish, I know, but that way I still get to do the job I currently have and slowly work toward my future with consistent persistence.

Below are some of my favorite personal affirmations. If you’re also working toward a new goal, you may find these helpful:

1. Consistent persistence is key.

Sometimes my dreams don't make sense in the beginning, but if I keep working toward them with consistent persistence, soon enough I’ll see the big picture and it will be worth it. I am constantly evolving; so will my dreams. No matter what happens, I must keep believing, keep working at it, and keep dreaming.

2. Success is a matter of perception.

I realize that sometimes I have an idea of what success should be. I will not let this idea make me feel like I'm not good enough or can never do what I want to do. I will take the time to reflect on my past accomplishments, knowing that this will provide the fuel I need in order to take my dreams to the next level.

3. I only have one life.

The next time I feel like it may be too late to make my dreams come true, I will remember that I only have one life, one chance to make it happen. I believe it is never too late to change my direction. Even if my dream requires me to work harder than ever before, I will always remember that the important thing is to embrace it and remember the real reason I am doing it.

I hope these will inspire you to take that next step too—to make things happen for yourself. Regardless of which stage in your life you are right now, it is never too late to pursue and live your dream, it is never too late to make a difference –whether it is in your own life, or others' lives.

It may be hard, but embrace the struggles knowing that with time, patience, and consistent persistence, you will eventually reap the rewards!

“The key to happiness is having dreams; The key to success is making them come true.” ~James Allen

Photo credit here

About Raylene Samuels

Raylene is the founder of the inspirational website Her mission is to embrace the enchanting moments in life and become the person she’s meant to be. She believes that we create our own destiny and must never underestimate the power of our thoughts and intentions because the Universe is listening. Connect with her on Twitter @RayleneSongbird.

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  • Sativa

    I really agree with:

    2. Success is a matter of perception

    I get so caught up in the ideals of how things should be and what i want in the future that i overlook the blessing that i have now.

    i’m going to work on that…time and patience.
    Thanks for your affirmations and best of luck to you on your new journey!!

  • Success is what you decide it should be – for some people it will be fame and money, but for others (hopefully most) it will be fulfillment, a great love life and awesome friendships around! At least for me it is 🙂

  • So many people are thinking that it’s impossible, that past a certain age you can’t change a thing. The truth lies in your post, it’s never too late to change and/or be who you want to be.
    No more excuses about not having time, not having money, “what others will say”…

    Thanks Raylene! 🙂 I’m starting to read every day some more articles of Tiny Buddha and i have this growing feeling that these kind of stuff should be taught at college…

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Sativa,
    Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, and thank you for your good wishes 🙂 An exciting journey lies ahead! I got married 2 weeks ago and with that came the birth of this amazing thirst for really achieving my goals, especially now that I have my partner in crime who is going to support me, and stand by me for the rest of my life. I am so glad I changed my perception of success – it has actually opened more doors and windows of opportunities! Good luck to you as well.
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Nicolas,
    Absolutely agree! Thanks so much for your Tweet earlier – it put a huge smile on my face 🙂 These Tiny Buddha articles are amazing and has taught me so much about life.
    I also agree that perhaps these skills should be taught even earlier in life – in high school already as part of a “Life Skills” program. The teenage years are what shapes us into the young adults we are today!
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • This is exactly what I needed today, thank you.

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Thank you, Mel! Really glad this has inspired you 🙂
    Love & Light
    ~ Raylene

  • eloi

    once again the timing is just perfect. Great post

  • I really identify as I’m at the same inflection point in my life. And sometimes that’s a time for drastic change and sometimes it’s a time that gives you the perspective to change your focus in the same area. But it’s about releasing that self-judgement you have on yourself, that perception of success. I’ve also been meditating a lot more recently and came across this reframing technique: just change the time scale. What if you were going to live for 1000 years, how would you live? That might allow you to make bigger life changes even if they could take years to achieve. If you only lived 1 year – that might help you realize what is truly important and of value to you.

    I’m also a developer, spend a lot of time behind the computer when working. I too love to be creative and playful with people, as well as deeply compassionate. So I’m looking at my own path through yoga and meditation, and a job that involves more teamwork.

    Good luck on your new path!

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Thanks so much, Eloi! As I say.. things always happen at the exact time it’s meant to 🙂
    ~ Raylene

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Josh,
    Wow, thank you for your amazing comment! I am big on meditation as well and it has changed my life so drastically. I have also become Vegetarian (to aid my daily mindful practice) and I am big on playing my part in creating a sustainable environment… especially, as you say – if you were to live for 1000 years!
    Great to meet a fellow developer ~ I do hope we can connect more 🙂
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • JAguirre

    Hi Raylene, your article could not have come at a better time for me. I am 24 and currently working a job I am not in love with. I am always looking and applying for new ones and have come up short. I feel like my whole life everyone has expected big things of me and now I am at a standstill. Your words are wise when you say that you have come to realize the importance of what you want and the value of life. I try and do that at my age now. Thank you again for this article!

  • Maybe you can be a therapist for dev’s such as myself 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  • Bruna

    What a perfect post and at the perfect time! I am also on my way to becoming a professional psychologist and I want to thank you for sharing your story because it gave my spirit a much needed lift! Best of luck to you 🙂

  • Hi Raylene,

    Such a timely post for me. Just finalised my enrolment in introductory psychology subjects part time as the beginning of a degree that will take me 8 years to complete. Along with two small kids, full time job and partner, it’s scary and daunting and exciting all at once! I’m 38 and sometimes feel too old to be starting something so new and difficult. Your points about consistence, success is a matter of perception and “I only have one life” ring so true with me. The last 12 years have seen my 7 year marriage end, subsequent divorce, loss of so much and also enter a new stage of life, with a new perspective for the future. A re-written future so to speak. So, good luck with your studies. I look forward to following your progress. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they resonated with me so much!

  • As long as you’re happy on the journey, it seems perfectly ok to change course several times. It seems like the more we learn and grow, the more we will evolve, and a natural part of that is to keep redefining ourselves and what we do.

  • cary

    Hey Raylene, I read your post this morning and haven’t had a chance to comment until now. Very nice post. I agree, no one has the right to judge you, but they will. Forgive them. The peace you find comes from within. As Gandhi said, “Each one has to find his own peace. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” My sense from reading your words is that you are indeed wise beyond your years. It was my pleasure to listen to your thoughts. I’m sure many will benefit from your wisdom in the future. Best of luck in everything, and thanks for the opportunity to share. Cary

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Cary,
    Thank you so much for your kind comment 🙂 It warms my heart… and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts, insights and experiences.
    I absolutely agree with Gandhi’s quote – it serves as a reminder that we are in control of how we respond to certain situations in our lives, and it’s up to us to create our own experience of these situations. We are responsible for our own feelings for as long as we allow ourselves to feel it.
    Thank you, again – you’re really sweet 🙂
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Thank you so much for your comment 🙂 It’s taken me years to get to this point, but I am so happy things panned out the way it did – I wouldn’t change a thing!
    Love & light to you,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Keryn,
    Wow, I am so glad you can relate! I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I had to have two small kids on top of my full-time job… and also the fact that I got married two weeks ago! So much change, but it is good.
    I am so happy that you have decided to embark on the journey to achieving your dream of doing Psychology, and I know it’s going to be a long journey, but I have friends who cannot believe how the time flew for them when they decided to study Psychology – part-time as well! When I hear stories like this it gives me so much hope! So thank you for that, you are indeed an inspiration for me 🙂
    All the best with your endeavours ~ I would really like to keep in touch with you. Please drop me a message on Twitter 🙂
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Bruna,
    That is amazing news! It’s incredible how Tiny Buddha brings so many like-minded individuals together 🙂 I am so glad this story touched your heart, it means a lot to me. Looking forward to connecting with you.
    Love & Light,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Jen,
    Perhaps one day it will happen 😉 Thank you for your sweet comment, fellow dev girl!
    Love & Light,

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi JAguirre,
    You’re lucky to be able to embark on this journey so early in your life – many people don’t get to do it until much later, so well done on that!
    I do wish you everything of the best with your search for your dream job… remember, when you change your perception of what success means to you, you will start to see the things you truly want. When you stop thinking about what others’ are thinking, you will live your life on your own times and before you know if, you find yourself living your dream life!
    All the best with you, and please do keep in touch 🙂
    May blessings and smiles be yours,

  • Awesome! I’ve just turned 30 last year where I absolutely hated my job so I left it and now about to go back to school to chase a new dream.

  • Raylene Samuels-Harvey

    Hi Virginia!
    That is amazing to hear 🙂
    I am so happy there are so many people out there who feel the same and are making the effort to go after what they truly want in life. It warms my heart!
    Love, light & blessings,
    Raylene x

  • Thanks a lot for your smiles 🙂

  • dean

    this article is really inspiring! thank you for sharing your thoughts. i think nothing is more fulfilling than touching other people’s lives. i hope one day i will also be sharing my inspirations to other people just like what you did. :

  • Tom S

    I struggle with this ever since retiring in 2007. I remember seeing the movie “The Rookie” and what the father tells the man Jim who is about to get a shot at the Major Leagues at 38yo, he tells him “It’s ok to think about what you want to do, until it’s time to start doing what you were MEANT to do”.
    Almost 30yrs ago, I had the dream of playing college football. Now at 45, a little beat up, I wonder about it everyday why I didn’t just walk on.
    I achieved retirement, earned two degrees, get to do what I want when I want, run a small fitness business on my own terms, but yet…..I FEEL like something is missing.
    Lately, I thought going back to college, just like you, to earn my DPT degree, but it would take me away from my wife and daughter and consume all my TIME (Something we never get back) for the next 5-6yrs, so do I do that or do I go for a crazy DREAM and try to walk on at a small college to play football?
    Deep inside, I feel I should have already gone to college, played football, earned the exercise science or DPT degree and have a clinic working with athletes taking care of their fitness, injuries, etc… that’s what I was meant to do, but I never fulfilled what I believe I WAS MEANT TO DO.
    How do I get past this or come back to reality? How does a retired guy stop looking back and look forward to figure out what he really is meant to do with his life? That is my struggle, so any insight from you or others would be greatly appreciated. I am always helping others and giving them advice and ways to balance their life, but it’s with myself that I struggle to figure out where my life or career is suppose to be at now or headed.

  • LondonMum

    Hi Tom,
    I can totally relate to how you are feeling as I have felt the same about my career. I am 25 now but I find myself spending so much time worrying about getting old that the years are just flying by while I try to hold onto my youth, then there are those moments when I realise that if I stopped worrying about time I could have achieved so much by now. Like you, I find myself stuck between following my dreams and getting back to ‘reality’, my goals are based largely on what I believe I am MEANT to do as I firmly believe we all have a purpose.. recently however, I’ve slightly altered my perspective to appreciate that whatever I am MEANT to be doing is exactly what I am doing right now in this moment! My purpose is whatever I want it to be and not some predetermined path which I am bound to follow. I also find it useful to try and become less attached to the outcome of my goals and just enjoy the process which isn’t easy but I find that dong this brings me more clarity and allows me to focus on my emotions and what makes me happy.

    (Search for Abraham Hicks on Youtube if you are not already familiar, some good discussions on ‘finding purpose’ and many other useful topics – Apologies for the lengthy post!)

    Best Wishes,


  • Youyou

    Do you know that your citation “never too late…” was written by ARISTOTE and C Lewis has just translated ! Let us return to Cesar what belongs to Cesar.

  • Bill


    This is a very important issue to me. I am in my late 50s and I do not want to lower my ambitions for my life. I worked very hard for many years to achieve my dreams and am not content to now just give up and say that that was all I could do.
    Unfortunately, if you look online you see all kinds of talk by people who say they have been out of work and that they will never work again or never have a good job again or they say it in a general way to apply to everyone.
    Obviously, there are no blanket statements that apply to everyone. The question that really matters is if these people are being their own worst enemies. In the past 10 years I have gotten a job in a nonprofit that I liked and worked for a year as a temp in a major corporation. I did not perceive myself as disadvantaged. If I had, I wonder if I would have had less luck than I have had.
    This is an important question. Is age a severe limiting factor in getting hired that could delay your dreams for many years or is their more hope than that?

  • Lee

    This is so Very true! I’ve spent the last 25 years in the Investment Industry, hating it! I tried to convince myself that the more money I made, the easier it would be to dale with/ignore these feelings. But it’s SO NOT TRUE! Not only did it leave me with an empty feeling inside, but deep down I knew I was doing something that, 95% of the time, went against everything I believed in! The other downside is, after the financial crisis, the industry became more and more “competitive” (an often used euphemism in the industry for Machiavellian), and as a result, I’ve found myself still in the industry and making a fraction of what I used to. For the longest time I’ve wanted to do something which aligned my core beliefs with my chosen profession. I think fear has always been the main stumbling block for me; fear of failing, the unknown, criticism of others, etc. This article has helped renew my belief that my dream is still possible, and that it’s never to late, as the journey goes on all your life.
    Thanks tinybuhhda!

  • Andrew

    motivation? what? where?

  • Joe

    What if you are 50 and haven’t had “success” in life?

  • janvi

    can one change life at any age.. its like there are less or no opportunities sometimes for people so even if they want change they cant.. what can be done

  • Viv

    As long as opportunities are there and your skills, willingness to do it match the requirement.

  • janvi

    opportunities should be there

  • Viv

    Create them.

  • Renuka

    A bigggggggggggg thanks to you Raylene… – Renuka