And don't tell me you're too old to try something new. The best teacher is a great student, so you should never stop learning. I don't care how old you are. My mother just turned sixty, and she's taking piano lessons for the first time. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. I'm not squeamish—I'm fasci- nated by the human body and anything to do with medicine and the natural world. Anyone would assume that path is no longer open to me, but not so fast. One of my favorite reality shows is TLC's Trauma: Life in the E.R., and a couple of years ago I saw an episode about a forty-year-old medical intern. Most of his peers were half his age. But he just loved medicine and always wanted to be a doctor, so midcareer he decided to go to medical school. He's probably the oldest intern in the country and much greener than doctors who are years younger than him, but he has a lifetime of experiences he brings to what he does now, and that gives a whole other level of depth to what he does that his twenty-five-year-old colleagues don't have. And he brings a passion to his work, because he appreciates this opportunity he's been given to practice medicine later in life. He'll be successful because he had the guts and determination to follow his dream and make it happen.
In these times, you just can't assume that one job or career will sustain you for the rest of your life. Like Oprah said, you have to jump off the ship before it sinks. Don't be the person who stands there and watches it until it's bubbling under the water.
Ladies, I know I don't need to tell you, there is no such thing as job security anymore. That's why you shouldn't let a job define you. That's just a part of who you are, not the whole package. That's also why you need to diversify. Just like your investment portfolio should have stocks, bonds, a 401(k), and a savings account, you need to mix it up so that if one thing drops, you still have other stuff to fall back on. We've known this in the music business for a long time. A rapper who just raps isn't going to have much of a career. From the time he starts rhyming, he's thinking about ways to expand his brand with merchandising and endorsement deals -- if he's smart. Record sales alone won't sustain him for the rest of his life, unless he happens to be Jay-Z, and even Jay makes his money from a million other things besides his music.
I never really planned to do all of the things I do. But I'm one of these people who crave variety. Case in point: I love Asian food and tapas. My friends laugh at me when we go to a restaurant because I always have to order a few appetizers and entrées to share. I always want to taste a little of this and a little of that, especially if it's something I've never tried before. The first time I went to Germany, I sat myself down at a local bar and tried nineteen different beers. Obvi-ously I didn't drink the whole bottle, but I wanted to sample everything, because I'd heard Germany was the place for beer. I love experiencing all the foods, music, fashion, art, and architecture of different cultures. But half of the people who are with me will eat only at McDonald's, because it's what they know and they don't like venturing into unfamiliar territory. What a waste.