Megan Mullally: There’s no such thing as ‘too old’ to pursue your dreams

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We’re about to see a lot more of Megan Mullally – and that’s not a bad thing. The seemingly ageless actress, who I can’t believe is 58, is primed to reprise her role as Karen Walker on the eagerly-awaited (by some, not all) return of Will and Grace. Megan, who made her Broadway debut in 1995 (playing Rizzo in Grease, by the way), is also returning to her musical roots. She is one half of the duo Nancy and Beth, a project she launched with singer Stephanie Hunt. The bluesy band dropped their first, self-titled album (which is pretty good, actually) and toured through June and July, and now Megan is on the promotional trail for W&G.

With the show, the band and being married to Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman, Megan is a busy woman. As she tells Woman’s Day, her age isn’t an impediment to living your best life and getting things done. In an essay in the magazine’s October issue, she talks about her collaboration and friendship with Stephanie, living life to the fullest and recognizing that age is nothing but a number. Megan admits, “My motto has always been ‘What next?’ You never know what opportunity is right around the corner. And, most important, it’s never too late.” Words to live by, Megan. Here are some more:

On being a “late bloomer”: Out of necessity, I’ve developed a sense of patience over the years.

On the 30-year age difference between she and her Nancy and Beth bandmate: The age difference between Stephanie and me has never been a problem. Age is just a construct in so many ways. We have an affinity for the same thing, and when I’m around her, I feel relaxed and creative. If anything, we feel like contemporaries. Music is a great equalizer, age-wise.

On life after 50: I’m more sure of myself now than I was 30 years ago. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as “too old” to pursue the things that inspire me. In fact, you can do whatever you want to do for as long as you want to do it.

Around the time I turned 50, I stopped caring so much about what other people thought of me. There’s something powerful about not taking yourself too seriously. It shows in my work life and even in the way I dress and wear my hair. For many years, I was afraid to have a funky hairstyle or be perceived as too “different.” My mother’s way of dressing was very Nancy Reagan, but since junior high, I’ve always loved vintage clothing and unconventional style.

My real style, the way I feel best and most comfortable, is casual and boyish. After I turned 50, I cut my hair short and dyed it bright red. Now I’ve grown it out very long and kind of scrappy, because why not? I would say, Never play it too safe. Have fun and take chances! Follow your passions. You never know which band you might find yourself singing and dancing in when you’re 58 years old.

[From Woman's Day]

Megan is a wise woman and I do agree it’s never too late to try something new I always wanted to do stand up comedy and, at 46, I finally gave it a go. I’m still doing my best to keep ‘em laughing. Follow her advice, you won’t be disappointed. I mean, look at her…she created one of TV’s most memorable characters, she’s living out her rock star dreams and she’s married to Nick Offerman (and if those two ever split, I will know that love truly is dead). And, you know, if Will and Grace isn’t embraced by fans once again, I think Nancy and Beth is definitely a viable career option for Megan. The band is good. Check out the video for the single “Please, Mr. Jailer.” I do hope Will and Grace is a ratings hit, because I’ve definitely missed Karen.

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21 Responses to “Megan Mullally: There’s no such thing as ‘too old’ to pursue your dreams”

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  1. PIa says:

    Her words couldn’t come at a better time for me. Fellow CB-ers, have any of you ever worked abroad? Have you proactively looked for a job in another country? What was that move like? Insight please.

    • a reader says:

      PIa: i’ve never looked in another country, however, at age 44 i have decided to move cross country. i secured a job that i can take with me where ever i go and i’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life. yes, it’s scary and intimidating but i’ve just gotten to the point where all i want to do is LIVE.

      in preparation for it i’ve started purging my “things”. i’m trying to get down to the bare minimum, in the vein of the simplicity movement. it’s been tricky so far…. letting go of attachments… there have been some tears as i sweep away the vestiges of my past… yet it’s felt incredibly liberating. things don’t make my happy; experiences do. it took me a very long time to figure this out (spent decades working through childhood and early adult trauma) and now that i have i’m going full speed ahead. i am so ready to start this next chapter of my life.

      i wish you the best of luck in your journey!

      • Antonym says:

        @PIa: seconding a reader’s suggestion of purging. I’ve been doing similar to reduce my clutter in advance of my big change. I separated my closet and when I wear something I either move it to the “keep” side of the hangers or put it in the donation piles. I’m a little less structured on other stuff, but I keep asking myself if I need it and if not it goes in the box. I put out a box for my donation pile and when the box is full I donate and start a new box. The plan is to have less to take with me as I embark on my next chapter.

      • PIa says:

        Thanks guys! Something I def need to consider as I am becoming a slight hoarder…

    • Electric Tuba says:

      I’ve only been a broad looking for work a few times so I can’t help but I wish you luck :)

    • tealily says:

      I have. I was already living abroad for grad school and got a job straight out of that program, so I transitioned from a student visa to a work visa with my employer’s help. Once my project was over, I fought like hell to stay, but the visa situation was pretty impossible. I got a few job offers, but none of the potential employers were willing to submit the paperwork for a work visa for me. Then I finally found one who would and flew back to the U.S. to submit all my paperwork, but the visa was denied and I had to move back to the U.S. Overall it was a great experience, but be prepared for lots and lots of paperwork and bureaucracy, and the feeling that it can all be yanked out from under you at any moment. (Sorry if that bums you out, but it was a rough experience for me.)

    • Sheba says:

      I studied and worked in the UK for about a year a half. It was amazing. I can’t recommend living abroad enough. I found it rather difficult to find a job in the UK, but moving there to go to grad school made it easier to find a job once I was done with school. I had to leave when my student visa expired, but I would have stayed if I could! My move was quite easy as I just brought a couple suitcases and rented a furnished flat with two other women (I feel like there are more furnished properties in other countries than here in the US). I think sometimes it’s easier to find a job with a global company and leverage yourself into a position at an international office. I also have a friend who did Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program and lived all over Europe. I’m sure there are other options out there, too.

  2. wow says:

    I couldn’t agree with her more. Always amazes me how some people mentally limit themselves with thinking they can’t persue a goal based on their age. And what’s worse is when those type of people type to down talk those who continue to make goals and succeed. It’s crazy.

  3. nicegirl says:

    YES, MEGAN!!!

    The thing about getting older is – it sure beats the alternative.

  4. Neva_D says:

    I needed to read this today. I got laid off yesterday and I am feeling very insecure about what to do next. :/

    • Antonym says:

      Neva_D – sending you good thoughts. I know it may sound silly, but so many people I know who have been laid off ended up happier. Sometimes it took a while, but they all seemed to use the experience as a motivator to try something that they had been putting off.
      I hope that whatever is next for you it makes you even happier than what was in your past.

    • Vaya says:

      I’ve been there. It’s a major blow & a loss. But you can survive this. Shake yourself off. Take this time to find out more about who you are and what you want out of this time. My thoughts are with you. And you’re going to be ok.

    • cate says:

      best wishes your way. hoping this ends up putting you in an even better position going forward. i love this message from her, we need more like this. very empowering and inspiring. good to get out of our headspace and negativity.

    • Neva_D says:

      Antonym, Vaya and Cate: Thank you so much! I had been thinking about looking for another job for a while and actually went as far as to update my resume, so at least I have a bit of a head start. This was definitely a surprise, but I’m trying to stay positive and optimistic. I appreciate your well wishes! :D

  5. Antonym says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read! I’m finally pursuing my dream of becoming an attorney, and taking the LSAT this weekend is daunting. Everyone else is so much younger. I needed the pep talk about not being too old to chase a dream. (Thanks, Corey!)

    • Dizzie says:

      My daughter went late and then convinced her husband to do it too. It’s the happiest decision they’ve ever made. It’s tough being an adult student with the time demands and scheduling, however, you bring your life experiences into that classroom and make it richer for all. Best of luck to you. You’ve made a wise and difficult decision. If you believe and you want it, don’t let obstacles or setbacks deter you. Google how many famous people didn’t pass the bar the first, second or third time around. It may help you realize you must persist- and that makes all the difference.

    • CynicalAnn says:

      You go!! How old are you? I wish I would have done that-but I’m 50 now and it does seem maybe too late . . .

  6. Electric Tuba says:

    God I love her. This advice coupled with letting go of a thirst for material possessions and not paying attention to any category society tries to classify you as is nothing short of a feel good care free good time

  7. CharlieBouquet says:

    Tammy and Ron Swanson. My hollyweird couple. Whale tail on you crazy kids

  8. JuliaGoolia says:

    I’m 44 and have just bought my own narrowboat to live on. She’s right – why limit yourself because of a number and what people think?