By Rachel Hill

We often hear, “You’re never too old to follow your dreams.” It feels like this is a saying we throw around when a friend is “having a renaissance” and trying to reinvent themselves. We use it as a piece of encouragement rather than something that holds weight.

Not until walking around the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery did I, for the first time, really see and feel in my bones tangible proof of this.

A Rainy Day Escape

While escaping the rain during a recent trip to DC, my husband and I spent a few hours roaming the museum. He suddenly got my attention and pointed out a painting by Grandma Moses. While the painting, titled Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City, was full of detail and pulled me into its world, what was really fascinating was the story behind the artist.

Who Was Grandma Moses?

Anna Mary Robertson Moses was a renowned folk artist … who didn’t start painting until she was 77 years old. According to the Smithsonian, she was “looking for something to do ‘to keep busy and out of mischief’ after her husband died.” She started selling her art at county fairs.

A few years later …

In 1939 a collector saw her paintings in the window of the local pharmacy and bought them all. Soon after, Hallmark purchased the rights to reproduce her paintings on greeting cards and the name Grandma Moses became known across the country. She died at 101, after painting more than fifteen hundred images.

**Side note: Grandma Moses grew up on a farm and predicted that her life would be spent on the farm raising chickens.

“Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

Grandma Moses: My Life’s History

 What I took away from this experience:

  • Don’t limit yourself.
  • Be curious.
  • Don’t let external circumstances dictate your life.
  • Age really is just a number.

A lot of the time, we get stuck — or sadly even give up on our dreams as we age. We begin to think that “it’s too late for us.” Fear of chasing goals that seem unrealistic is scary, and that’s a real thing that we feel in our bodies. But over time, if we can shift that mindset, there’s no telling what we can accomplish!