It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self

I turn 65 this year. I started blogging at 62. My first book on giftedness in adults and youth will be released next month (June 2016). You see? It’s never too late.

Granted, I’m not as cute as I used to be. This is particularly noticeable if you look closely at my skin. Who knew skin could sag like that? And I never thought I’d be dependent upon the pharmaceutical industry for the maintenance and functioning of certain body parts. Luckily, I still have excessive amounts of hair. Even though it’s no longer happily auburn in the sun. It’s still there. Curly as ever. Which, in my older years, I’m finally able to appreciate.

It’s never too late to appreciate your gifted self.

I started dancing the Argentine tango when I turned 49. I’m still at it. Not only is dancing good for coordination, balance and neuroplasticity, it’s also a way to be seen, held and admired — at any age.

Me at a tango lesson when my hair was still auburn. Age 49.
Me at a tango lesson in 2002.

It’s never too late to dance your gifted self.

My friend and colleague just got her MA in clinical psychology at age 71. She already had a PhD in educational psychology but she wanted to start a counseling practice. And she just joined the blogosphere.

It’s never too late to deepen your gifted self.

An innovative after-school enrichment program opened recently in Eugene and Portland (Oregon). It was started by two creative, insightful women in their 50’s.

It’s never too late to expand your gifted self.

Two girlfriends of mine who’ve raised kids are grieving. Their children are grown and out in the world. Not necessarily remembering to call. Or to mention that they happened to get married on that trip to Mexico. These fabulous moms are no longer the center of their children’s universe. They’re anxiously wondering, what’s next.

Quite a lot is next.

Quite. A. Lot.

This world needs you to be your gifted self. More than ever. So, write your blog. Publish your book. Start your nonprofit. Get your PhD. Start your practice. Open your micro-school. Get therapy. Start your business. Dance your tango. Bring more creativity, sensitivity, empathy, humor, intelligence, intuition, joy and love to the planet.

It’s never too late.


To my bloggEEs: Did you notice the part about my book being released in June? Next month? So exciting! I will let you know when it’s available for purchase. (Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and YouthGHF Press.) And please, let us know how you feel about being your gifted self. Do you worry that it’s too late?

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

52 responses to “It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self”

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  1. It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self — Part Two | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] people at Hoagiesgifted, click on the image. (And if you want to read part one of this post click here. Be sure to read the […]

  2. Jessie Avatar

    Paula, thank you very much for this entire blog, and I’m eager to read your book as well. I read your background on your website where you mention how you had an early midlife crisis and became a therapist and that, too, has been inspiring to me, as I am thinking hard about where to go next in my career — I also am thinking about pursuing psychology. Student debt certainly makes it hard (as this path would probably demand MORE debt, and might lead to a pay cut, depending on what I did with it), but there’s a cost to the alternative as well. (I got the first master’s degree scrambling as a would-be writer and multipotentialite to just figure out SOMETHING that will pay the bills, especially in an age where journalists were warning everyone away from that field, which I think might have been a good fit as well!) Blogging has indeed helped, in part by helping me figure out what I really can dedicate myself to doing, what I really can contribute. Maybe a PhD is next, or maybe a novel…so many good possibilities, if we just have the courage to give up some security to pursue them. Thanks for helping strengthen that courage.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I went back to school when I was 39. I got a teaching assistantship that paid for the education plus a stipend! You’d be surprised at what you can find in GTF positions if you look and if you have many talents! It’s one of the advantages of going back later in life. You have the skills to find funding. Another thought, if you want to pursue psychology. Look carefully at the different programs. Some are research based and some are more clinical. So if you want to practice therapy, you go for clinical; like a couples and family therapy type program. Also, you don’t necessarily need a PhD unless you want to be a psychologist (there are pros and cons). I have a Masters degree in counseling and it’s served me quite well!! Just some ideas.

      1. Jessie Avatar

        Paula, thanks so much for sharing your example! It’s encouraging to hear that funding might not be a difficult to procure as I fear. As for research vs. clinical…that’s actually something I’m not sure of yet myself. I’d love to be able to do both, but I understand the need to pick a direction and focus. I know I have a lot of thinking yet to do. Thanks for those ideas…they are extremely valuable!

  3. imeldamconway Avatar

    Reblogged this on Imelda Conway-Duffy.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you.

  4. helenjnoble Avatar

    Reblogged this on helenjnoble and commented:
    It’s never to late to grow into your own skin and share your amazing mind with the world.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober


  5. athomasfl Avatar

    I started doing photographic art at 47 and doing art festivals. It’s 13 years later and I am loving every minute. It’s rather taxing physically so I don’t know how long I will be able to keep putting up the tent but I’m also starting to work on selling my work online for when I can no longer do festivals. I still work full time but I am looking forward to retirement when I can concentrate on art.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lucinda Leo Avatar
    Lucinda Leo

    I cannot WAIT for your book, Paula! How very exciting. Thank you for your encouragement and for getting us. I started playing classical guitar at 42 (I’m taking grade 6 exams soon) and learning to figure-skate at 43, among other things. I’m excited what else is to come. 🙂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Wow, Lucinda. Classical guitar and figure-skating. Very cool!

  7. Old Soul, Lonely Soul Avatar
    Old Soul, Lonely Soul

    I discovered that I was gifted in my mid forties, while trying to help my son cope with his gifted issues. Now he’s a junior in high school and I’m starting to think about the next chapter in my life, after he leaves for college.
    I started playing cello at age 40, but put it aside while I was busy with him. Time for more cello lessons, and maybe some community theatre too.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Those sound like great ideas!

  8. Laura Avatar

    Thank you for the wonderful article! I teach the gifted, but it took several years to realize that I was truly a part of this tribe. I have been nurturing my musical gifts all along- planning to really grow my group when I retire in a few years.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing, Laura. Even as a teacher of the gifted, it can still be hard to acknowledge it in oneself.

  9. Article: “It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self” By Paula Prober

    […] positive read, “It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self“, by Paula […]

  10. tlavrov Avatar

    Absolutely transcendent writing, Paula.

    Thanks again, from a sincere reader.

  11. skpicard Avatar

    Great post Paula. Things we should know but it still helps to have someone else “say it out loud”.

  12. Help! My kid knows more than I do and I’m scared… – Fidgets2Widgets Afterschool Enrichment

    […] to ask them for help, or better yet “google” help together. As Paula Prober recently posted in Your Rainforest Mind, “It’s never too late to be your gifted self.” You […]

  13.  Avatar

    How does an adult go about becoming identified as gifted? I have read the characteristics, I have gifted children, I know the statistics. Just when you think maybe I am then someone says just because your kids are doesn’t mean you are …. and the doubt and questions and wondering begin again. Yes a definitive identification, one way or the other, would be helpful for many reasons!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You could probably go see a psychologist who does intelligence testing and get something definitive. In the book The Gifted Adult by Jacobsen, there’s a “test” but it’s all subjective, so you might not feel you can trust it. I think it’s quite comprehensive though. Maybe someone reading here will have some other ideas. Thanks for commenting.

    2. shebeeste Avatar

      I took a Mensa practice test several years ago, which I believe cost about $20? I never took the actual membership test but the pretest answered the question “Am I actually smart?!” to my satisfaction. Later during my AD/HD testing, there was a component, that while not an official IQ test, corroborated my results. IQ may not actually equal “gifted”, right?, so YMMV (your mileage may vary).

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thanks for the tip, shebeeste!

  14. mariev405 Avatar

    Thank you for the current thought. I am finding life far more fulfilling now in my 70;s than any other time in my life. Three years ago I needed to have some treatment to help me with my balance therefore, walking, photographing etc. My history is from a very early age my sight was a problem – in my late 60’s I had cataract surgery and before that I had a jaw reconstruction after the removal of a salivary gland cancer (very rare). The radiotherapy was very ferocious – therefore very successful, so damage to much of the left side of my head. I survived very well. Brilliant plastic surgeon in the first place. But radiotherapy damaged hearing nerves this has changed balance etc. I digress, as a consequence, after physiotherapy, exercise physiology and a psychologist, the world has been totally opened to anything I am willing to become involved with and I have been allowed to think and express the thoughts that have all my life been important but never been accepted or appreciated. My latest thought, I hope to come to fruition is that it is ”OK to play” . Soft toys can be thrown against the wall and then collected and cuddled to death with apologies and protestations of love and affection. I am thinking that residents in retirement villages and nursing homes may have a favourite toy who lives on your bed and sometimes keep you company. All my toys have different personalities and fulfill different thoughts and needs.
    I have rambled on for a long time but I hope I am not the only one.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yikes, Mariev405. Sounds like you’ve been through so much. I expect that my 70s will also be a great decade!

  15. Kamala Quale Avatar
    Kamala Quale

    This is a great blog entry Paula. I really like it and you look so terriffic in that picture! Go Girl. I’m inspired too.




    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Kamala. You inspire me as well!

  16. Avatar

    Loved this post. Who new wrinkles? Need to get back to something creative. Looking forward to it after I retire! In a few more years!

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for writing. Good to get the creative juices flowing. 🙂

  17. Jens Lyon Avatar
    Jens Lyon

    I am still a young ‘un in my forties. I published my first book last year and am planning to publish my second one this fall. I may or may not go back to school. Whatever I decide, my brain will be fed! 🙂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes. Brain feeding. An important priority for young’uns and older’uns.

  18. Stephanie Avatar

    I’ve always had so many things I want to do, and one of them was dance professionally. Which I did. And in that world I was old. At 26. I quit and moved back home and am in grad school and going to student teach next semester. I took up running, a sport where you peak at an older age than I am, and I realized that there’s still time to do all the things I want to do. But I still need reminders like this, because I’m student teaching at an age where most teachers are in their 5th year and sometimes I feel behind. But I just march to a different beat and that’s ok. I’ll do all I want to do in my own time. 🙂 Congrats, Paula, and thank you!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yep, Stephanie. You march to the beat of the rainforest mind. And a lovely beat it is! ( I feel lucky to be in a career that only improves with age. )

  19. Jade Rivera Avatar
    Jade Rivera

    YES! I was once trapped inside of limiting beliefs about how much time I had and what I was capable of, now I am (mostly) free! I’m thankful for this crazy online world we’re living in, it’s so easy to learn new things and to connect with similar minded people. The generation gap keeps getting smaller and smaller, and that’s a good thing.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, you similar-minded-person! So glad we’re connected.

  20. Ro Avatar

    I adore this! Thank you Paula. Congratulations to your friend who earned her MA in clinical psychology – I’ll be checking out that blog. And to your friends who are grieving ’empty nests’…. much love 💜
    Oh, by the way I was so impressed with your gorgeous hair when I saw the dancing photo; then I read the comment about your relationship with your hair. I’m glad you finally enjoy it!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Ro. Yes, I’ve battled with the curls for years. They’re so out of my control! But I’ve come to much more self-acceptance! 🙂

  21. Natalie Avatar

    Good to know its never too late. Now if I can just figure out what that is.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, there’s a challenge. Sounds like multipotentiality to me!

  22. ginajess Avatar

    You give me such hope! Every time I read your posts, I’m inspired and encouraged. This particular post has really blessed me. At age 50, I’ve finally started publishing a column in a local newspaper, and I’m working on a book while going back to school. I still struggle with “if only,” but I’m not defeated by “too late.” Thank you! 🙂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Happy to give you hope, ginajess.

  23. lauralynnwalsh Avatar

    I started writing songs when I was 59. I have to date written dozens of songs, one musical, and I am working on the second musical. I have performed some of the songs at open mics and Cabaret nights. The musicals may never be performed – it takes marketing and money, but working on them has been interesting. My biggest drawback is not fear of age, but rather lack of self-confidence.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Keep at it, Lauralynn. If the process is satisfying and something you’re drawn to doing, then that’s reason enough to write, yes?

      1. lauralynnwalsh Avatar

        I am not sure. I feel a certain need/want to have the work recognized by others, too. I think creators of artistic works feel satisfaction in the doing, but there is still a need to have people say, “That is [good/worthwhile/moving/…]”.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Of course. I understand that need, too.

  24.  Avatar

    Sometimes I get discouraged and think it’s too late and start asking myself, “Why are you wasting your time”? But I keep plugging away, because it’s what I do. Thank you Paula for the upbeat and inspiring reminder.

    P.S. I think you are way cute!

    1. Sharleen Nelson Avatar
      Sharleen Nelson

      I don’t know why I showed up as anonymous in my previous post, but I didn’t want you to think I was some stalker telling you were cute! 🙂

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Ha! Thanks Sharleen. I just thought you were a secret admirer!

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      🙂 You aren’t wasting your time! You have a strong creative voice in you!

  25. waltherl Avatar

    I’m not worried it’s too late.. I got my bachelors degree at 42. 6 years after finding out I was gifted. I’m still planning my masters degree (46 now). Currently I do a course in creative writing. No.. for me the knowledge that I was gifted opened up a lot of opportunities and more confidence in following my dreams. That is, if I ever figure out what they are. So many opportunities and so many interests… 😉 .

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So glad to hear that you’re continuing to expand and are following your dreams. And, yes, having a rainforest mind means that there will be many dreams!!