Starting Over At 40 – A View From 50


Over ten years ago, Kent Cutis Weakley was unhappy in his work. He was passionate about the arts, had a college degree and yet he found himself piecing together a work life that consisted of waiting tables and managing food and beverage operations. He was unfulfilled and underutilized. He knew he could do better but did not know how.

Then he decided to begin again and sought help to do it. This journey consisted of deep emotional, physical and spiritual work and included a group Bright Livelihoods program with me in Taos, New Mexico.

Today, I had a chance to interview him about what has happened since that time in his life, when he shifted his reality to better align with his vision. The changes have been dramatic and have included working in the arts as a performer and set designer, opening his own interior design firm and moving to New York to  attend the well-regarded  Pratt Institute, where he is currently earning his M.S. in Interior Design. Going back to school at midlife is not easy, but Kent Curtis reports he has been supported by a great team, including Anita Cooney, the Interior Design Department Chairperson.

Over the last ten years, he has made a living from projects he loved, including interior design of upscale homes and inns, costume and set design for operas and creating one-of-a-kind wedding dresses. He also began singing professionally and learned to tango.

At school he is working 12-15 hour days doing amazing projects like creating renovation plans for The Lever House, an iconic building on Park Avenue. He reports that his new life is more honest and expressive, and he has learned to make mistakes and take risks. Most importantly, he has dreams he is making real and feels comfortable in his own skin.

Kent Curtis admits he still has doubts and fears, but since starting his career over, he is willing to do whatever it takes to work through them. His future plans include studying in Europe and then returning to New York to design interiors for a top tier architecture or design firm.

When asked what advice he would give others who are contemplating a career do-over, he says: ”Take the Nike slogan seriously.”

Is it time for you to get support to begin again? Then you may want to meet me and my team at our next webinar…


Laurel Donnellan                                                                                                                             CEO                                                                                                                                                 Bright Livelihoods

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