Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



good life – by noell hyman

Part of cultivating a good life is doing something you love even if you’re too old and it won’t make you any money.

I started serious dance training when I was 38, went on pointe when I was almost 40, and became a member of an adult dance company a year after that.

You might say I’m a bit too old and ask me, “What’s the point?” I’ll never be a professional.

The point is pure joy. That’s it.

I had a desperate dream to dance my whole life, but I did not get to cultivate that as a child. When I realized my daughter had the same dream, I began doing everything I could to help her reach it. I loved walking into the dance studio with her every day, but she got to go into the dance rooms and I had to stand and stare on the opposite side of the window with my heart aching to be on the inside.

One day, when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I decided I would ask if I could join classes, too. The director might think I was nuts. I might look absurd dancing with kids. But I asked and she said yes! And who knows how many moms in the lobby whispered that I was too old. But who cares about that! I worked hard and things have progressed to where we now have a company for dancers who are adults and NOT too old.

And I feel amazing. Every day that I get to dance is a day that I get to do the thing that gives me the very most joy.

Someone once asked me if I was training so I could become a dance teacher. I think we forget that even adults and parents can do fun things — that we can even work hard for something simply because we love it and it fulfills us — not just because we can earn some money from it.

These days I’m very aware of comments I hear like, “She’s too old to be doing that.”

Really? Why is that?

What are you “too old” to be doing that you secretly would love to do if only you were younger? What do you wish you could spend time doing if only it paid well?

Life doesn’t end at 29. You’ve got plenty of time. Go do it.


Note from Becky

Noell and her husband Izzy are the force behind Paperclipping.com – and they certainly have made an impact in the scrapbooking industry. They have a podcast called Paperclipping Roundtable and I’ve been a guest on their show a few times over the years. I appreciate the respect they have for me and my business and my philosophy about simplifying the process of memory keeping. I’m always grateful for the passion that Noell has for our hobby and industry and how she really works to bring voices and minds and perspectives together to discuss topics surrounding memory keeping so others can be inspired.

Connect with Noell :: Website


39 Responses

  1. Mariangeles says:

    I just love Noell :D

  2. I think it is wonderful that you were able to start dance training at 38. You had a dream and you made it come true. I love your attitude! Thanks so much for sharing how you cultivate a good life. :)

    Mary from NH

  3. Latrice says:

    I honestly have this same dream!! Watching my daughter at recital rehearsal and al the girls made me feel happy and sad. I wish I had the guys and money when I was younger to do dance. It just wasn’t an option for me. I’m 32 now and definitely want to do it still.

    You just answered my doubting thoughts for sure. Thank you so much.

  4. Nita K. says:

    Fantastic! What a great story!

  5. Whitney says:

    Wow! I always wanted to take dance classes as a little girl, too, but I never had the chance. I was so excited to sign my daughter up when she was 3 1/2. 3 years later, she still loves it, and I love the confidence that those lessons have given her. This year she started doing some competitions (tap solo) and my husband and I are so incredibly proud of her. I was a bit sad, too, wishing that I had that opportunity at her age. But then it presented itself just last week. Her dance instructor is offering an adult tap class beginning this summer, and I’ve decided to sign up. I am out of shape, uncoordinated, but very excited! Who says that us moms still can’t follow our dreams? I may never perform in front of an audience, but I will seize the opportunity to try something I always wanted to. I am so happy for Noell and glad that she shared her story!

  6. Marygail says:

    Noelle, you are so inspiring! Way to go!

  7. KathyinMN says:

    Noelle you are so awesome! And why not? Love that! I’m an adult onset runner. And I love it. But it took until I was with someone who was encouraging enough for me to start to let me find the strength to do it on my own. Reading this about you, well, you are full of awesome sauce. Love the Paperclipping Roundtable, I listen in every week.

  8. Jennie says:

    Love, love, love this post from Noell. it put a smile on my face! I love that she has the courage to dance, and I love that it brings her so much joy! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Beth Quiroz says:

    I became a Zumba instructor at 41. Like Noell – I didn’t do it to make money. I did it because I love Zumba. I wanted to learn all I could about it. I wanted to share the joy and elation I feel each and every time I participate in a Zumba class. I do feel a bit weird going to Zumba trainings with all sorts of young, perky (and skinny!) 20-somethings, but I still get out there and shake it!

  10. Jeanal says:

    I love this! Very inspiring sometimes we just need to get out and try new things and have fun. Not everything has to be about making money or being the best. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Ali says:

    I absolutely love this. You go Noell.

  12. bdaiss says:

    I started tapping again at about 29. So much fun and joy. And let’s not forget… we’re always the hit or the recital. :) Because so many moms wish they could join us. I just wish I could convince more of them: you absolutely CAN do this!

  13. Laura says:

    Noell, I remember being a little surprised when you first began to mention joining the dance classes, but I also thought: “You go, girl!” Life is short — live it!

  14. Terri Cannell says:

    I’ve been a member of Paperclipping for several years now and also a long time listener of The Paperclipping Roundtable. Noell’s show is super inspirational to me as a scrapbooker and I appreciate her and Izzy’s positive energy and humor.
    This post makes me think that it’s about time I got to painting and creating art which I put off for “someday”. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Leigh says:

    As humans, we have such capacity for joy and pleasure, why would we not seek opportunitie for feel fulfilled? I was always the “academic” child in my family, and I remember my artistic endeavours as a youngster being criticised. In my 30s, I decided I wanted to learn to paint – I imagined watercolouring in my travel journals. But, I didn’t know how to draw or even hold a pencil for sketching. So, I took a “sketching for the raw beginner” class, then the follow up class. Then I took three life drawing classes. And now, I have some idea how to sketch a body, and to shade it. And then… through scrapbooking and the internet, I stumbled upon this wonderful world of mixed media and art journalling. And I’m dabbling in this now, and I love it. Not because I expect to make my career as an artist, but because I love the very act of creating and playing with colour and texture. It makes me happy, and I feel accomplished that I can make pretty, interesting, unique pieces of art.

  16. Jana says:

    What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing this with other moms like me who think we are too old to try something new!

  17. michelle t says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you very much for sharing this. Meaningful and heartfelt. Michelle t

  18. C.Robin says:

    Noell, you rock!!! Keep doing what you love.

  19. What an awesome and thoughtful post!!! That really blessed my heart and I think of my daughter who does not have the typical dancer’s body but loves to dance. I tell her often to just dance for the fun of it but “the joy of it” is way better. I’m going to share this with her. Thank you. :)

  20. June Hay says:

    Always go after your dreams! At 50, I had never rollerbladed before but always wanted to. I bought a pair, tried it, and in the process lost 75 pounds! Fifteen years later, at 65, I can still rollerblade!!! You’re never too old to learn something new! Good for you, Noell!!!

  21. Gab says:

    Just love that post! I think it’s cool that Noell has the passion that she does.
    And it also means that I’m not too old (at almost 47!) for Disney!

  22. Marie-Pierre says:

    Very beautifully written, Noell. And very true, and inspiring. It brought me to think. What if…. Thanks Noell!! Oh and by the way, this picture is AMAZING! It’s fun to see all of you in the same room, everyone doing something different, something you love and that you can all be together while doing it.

  23. This was nice! I clicked on their page and read about keeping Project Life simple. I have been doing it by the week for our family album, but my daughter’s Baby Edition is by the month so I always have more than enough pics of her since I’m slightly obsessed, lol. But with our family album, when I don’t have seven pics, I sometimes just do one page instead of a full layout and just use three 4×6 pics and call it a wrap! I may throw a few IG pics that I cut down to fit the 3×4 slots, but I don’t stress about it. If I have the pics, I have them, if I don’t, I don’t. Something is better than nothing :-)

  24. Melissa M. says:

    Good for you Noell! I have been involved in dance on and off from the time I was 4 until after college. I was disappointed when a I took a tap class after college and I was the youngest of about 5 in the class. I asked the teacher if we would be doing a recital and didn’t receive an encouraging response. That was all I wanted, to dance and show off what I had learned. I’m glad you started the company for women like us. Keep on dancing. :)

    • Noell Hyman says:

      What a bummer, not being able to show off and perform!

      I have to credit the studio for starting the adult company. I got the first adult class started and pulled in the adults students, but it was a couple of our studio’s teachers and our director that started the company. In fact, if we have any adult dancers reading this who live in the east valley of metro Phoenix, look us up at the USA gym in Gilbert. We’re the USA Dance Co. and the USA gym with 5 beautiful dance rooms is our home. :)

  25. Megan says:

    I think it’s great that Noell started dancing at 38! I also think it’s amazing! How fun that she could finally follow through on a dream she’s had for so long! Not a lot of us can do that and she’s right, it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as it makes you happy! You’re an inspiration, Noell! Thanks for sharing this!

  26. Merrick says:

    Here’s my question… Why would it be cool if you said “i took up golf”. But other grown up hobbies seem to always be shocking?

    If you spend money and hours playing golf, it’s all good… If you spend money and time on dance or scrapbooking god-forbid… That’s crazy.

  27. Renae says:

    This is wonderful! Good on you! I took up ballet as an adult, but let it go after having my son. I think I’ll look back in to it.. I’m 37 this year so maybe en pointe isn’t just a dream after all! Thanks Noelle!

  28. Nadine B. says:

    This sounds so familiar to me. I went exactly through the same experience with playing piano. Always dreamed of learning it and when little girl (6 y. o.) had her first lesson, I asked myself, who truly wanted to do this thing…. ;-) So I started with 39 to live MY childhood dream and did never regret! That makes my soul happy….
    BTW ’til then the two of us are learning and struggling and succeeding and love, love, love it! :-)

    Go Noell, GO!

    Thanks Becky for spreading the word and and encouraging others!

  29. MelissainSC says:

    I sing. I played the violin (albeit not all that well) until I was in college but when my violin broke I could not afford to replace it so I joined the choir. After graduation, I didn’t sing for about 10 years and I was very stressed and not happy. When things settled in my thirties, I joined the choir at my church and loved being back. Now I sing in church choir that is fantastic and really demanding. I work harder than ever and am a better singer than I have ever been. There is nothing I would rather be doing. I love it. I’m almost 50 and have no plans to stop any time soon.

  30. donna c says:

    Well said Noell! I was fortunate as a child to take dance lessons for a few years, and have developed a life-long love of dance. However, when the lessons stopped and I didn’t have a say in it, I wasn’t able to pursue the dream of dance as a career. Interestingly enough, I purchased a groupon for a couple lessons a few months ago and haven’t used it yet. I’m a little nervous about it, but after reading how you’ve embraced dance, I’m inspired to “just do it!” Rock on Izzy and Noell! (non-schmo here ;))