A 36-year-old client told me that she thought it was too late for her to find a fulfilling career and a meaningful life.

I tried to control my facial expression.


I’m here to tell all of you 20-30-40-50-60-70-80+ somethings, that it’s never too late. Never. Too. Late.

I can say this because I’m 66. I started my counseling practice at 41. I began dancing the Argentine tango at 47. I started appreciating my mind-of-its-own free-range hair at 53. I discovered my sense of humor at 55. I created my blog at 62. My first book was published at 64.

And I’m not finished yet.

But, I’ll admit it. 66 sounds old to me. 66. Medicare. Social security. AARP.

I almost didn’t want to tell you.

But luckily, I’m in a profession (counseling / consulting) where you improve with age. You benefit from experience. You don’t have to move much.

And as a blogger and author, no one notices my creaking knees or my post-menopausal moods.

Granted, I’ve been lucky or blessed to be in excellent health. I attribute that to genetics, years of obsessive self-care, a child-free-so-much-less-stressful life, and white middle class privilege.

My self-care includes psychotherapy, acupuncture, energy healing, naturopathy, sweet deep friendships, easy access to organic food, intermittent exercise, more psychotherapy, massage, singing, a spotty yet well-intentioned meditation practice, uncontrolled book buying, astrology, tango dancing, journaling, Netflix, rolfing, the Canadian Tenors, spiritual connections, avoiding toxic people and breathing. Oh, and hearing from my fabulous blog/book fan club.

Of course, 66 is the new 56. So I’m really just middle-aged.

But here’s the thing. In my blog and book, I write about what I call the rainforest mind. If you have one, it means that you are highly sensitive, creative, intelligent, intense, and intuitive. People with rainforest minds can be lonely, misunderstood, and even misdiagnosed. Even though they are quite bright, they don’t necessarily do well in school. There may be extreme pressure to be a high achiever from an early age. They may be late bloomers if their accomplishments don’t measure up to the expectations of others or of themselves. They need help understanding the complexity of who they are.

You might know the rainforest-minded by other names: overthinker, geek, bookworm, nerd, empath, perfectionist, intuitive, brainiac, gifted. If you are one, and you are also 36, you might believe that it’s too late for you, too.

It’s not.

If I can still be blooming at 66, well, you can, too.

Thirty-six or sixty-six, it is never too late.


  • Paula Prober

    Psychotherapist, Consultant, Blogger, and Author based in Eugene, Oregon

    Paula Prober, M.S., is a licensed counselor, consultant, blogger, author, and tango dancer living in Eugene, Oregon. She blogs at Your Rainforest Mind, (www.rainforestmind.com), a blog in support of the excessively curious, creative, smart, and sensitive. She writes about mental, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health for know-it-alls, sensitives, geeks, bookworms, brainiacs, dropouts, perfectionists, wonderers, and empaths in her book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth. She consults internationally with gifted adults and parents of gifted children.