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9 Life-Changing Quotes From Famous People Over 50

It’s an age-old story: You think you know everything there is to know about life when you’re young — until you’ve lived a little, get some actual experience under your belt and realize how little you really know. To save you the time and pain of barking up fruitless trees, we’ve combed the web for invaluable nuggets of wisdom dispensed by artists, writers, actors and thinkers who’ve made it to the age of 50 and beyond so we can share some important life lessons from those who have actually lived some.

1. Betty White, 95

As told to Katie Couric: “So many people think negatively. If you start with ‘You know what I hate,’ you’re going to go right down the tubes. I know it sounds boring, but I am a positive thinker. I’m a cock-eyed optimist. That’s how I’ve stayed happy all my life. You’ve got to get through it. You can’t change it. So let’s just [put] one foot in front of the other and get through it."

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2. Cher, 70

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As told to Maria Shriver on “TODAY”: “You have to be like a bumper car. And you hit the wall and you back up and you go a different way and you go at the wall again. The only thing I know is not to give up. I don’t know how to not give up.”

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3. Viola Davis, 51

To young women, in InStyle: “When in doubt, dive. That’s what I would say. I think we hesitate too much, and a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. You need to ask for what you want. It’s not handed to you. You need to go out, and you need to take it.”

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4. Neil deGrasse Tyson, 58

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As told to Men’s Journal when asked what advice he’d give himself when he was younger: “There’s no time I would go back and say, ‘Do this differently.’ Experiencing mistakes has been devalued in our culture. They want people to make the right decisions at all times. Well, there’s a saying in research science: If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not on the frontier of discovery. I’m the sum of the correct decisions I’ve made and the incorrect decisions I’ve made. Each one of those shapes the wisdom that I carry today.”

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5. Meryl Streep, 67

On how her views have changed, as quoted in The Guardian: “I spent far too much time when I was younger thinking about how much I weighed. If I could go back, I’d say, ‘Think about the bigger picture.’ Of course, it’s a visual medium. We think about our looks. I don’t bring a suitcase with my dossier in it to an audition, I bring my body. So you can’t moan about the fact that you’re judged on your looks: It’s show business. But the other thing is that you’re representing lives, and lives look all different ways and shapes. That’s one thing I do see changing, and it’s really good. It makes the cultural landscape richer.”

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6. Senator Elizabeth Warren, 67

As told to graduates of Suffolk University: “First, all the planning in the world can’t prepare you for the twists that are coming your way. You can’t predict it all. People will tell you to plan, to focus. They will tell you that if you want to succeed, you must stubbornly stay on your path no matter what. And they will be right. But they will also be wrong. I never planned to get married when I did, and I sure didn’t plan to get divorced. I never planned to become a lawyer or a law professor. No amount of focus when I was 20 would have envisioned me as a United States senator standing on this stage. So don’t be so focused in your plans that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected.”

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7. RuPaul, 56

As featured in New York Magazine’s Vulture: “This is my twisted little theory: That because more and more people became narcissistic and became self-analyzed or in therapy, their own personal issues became omnipotent, and they wanted the whole world to know, ‘My personal issues are important, dammit, and so I need to be around people who understand me.’ Rather than the other way around, and fixing yourself from the inside out, they wanted the outside to reflect who they are.

8. Bill Gates, 61

As featured in Inc.: “Don’t make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don’t revisit the issue unnecessarily. If you’re too willing to reopen issues, it interferes not only with your execution, but also with your motivation to make a decision in the first place. After all, why bother deciding an issue if it isn’t really decided?”

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9. Warren Buffett, 86

As featured in Time: “There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”

What Do YOU Think?

Did any of these pieces of advice strike a cord with you? What advice would you give to your younger self? Who do you look up to? Let us know in the comments section!

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