Confessions of a Late Bloomer

My name is Dorothy and I’m a late bloomer. Though I powered through my university program, finishing my BS degree in 3.5 years, my master’s and Ph.D in 28 months, I spent fourteen years  as a teacher, then as a curriculum and strategies consultant, then as an administrator, waking up every day longing for a different kind of life.  

But I came of age in a time when even college-bound women were encouraged to become either nurses or teachers.  Confined to my local state university by family and finances, I couldn’t take a major in journalism, my true love, because the school didn’t offer it. I took every class that was offered, and worked a paid position as a writer and editor at the University Press. 

I was past forty when my first novel –a historical for young readers, was published. It took another decade before my first novel for adult readers came out.  Now I’m in the middle of reinventing my career once again, a  daunting task in this youth-obsessed literary culture.

Maybe you’re  a late bloomer, too, and longing for the path you didn’t take earlier. Maybe you want to paint, or resume the piano lessons you gave up back in third grade. Maybe you want to finish that degree that was deferred when the kids came along, or  pursue another one in a different field. 

 It isn’t too late. And there are some distinct advantages we late bloomers bring to the table. By definition we are more mature which means we are more resilient, we have more insight into ourselves and others. We are curious and not as susceptible to comparisons with others as we might have been at a  younger age. 

Recently I read about a woman, let’s call her Sherry, who had always wanted to be a doctor, but put off medical school to start a family and support her husband’s career. Now the kids were older and busy with their own lives and her friend encouraged Sherry to go for her dream.  “But I’m already thirty-five!” Sherry said. “It will take ten years to get a degree, finish medical school and complete a residency. By then I’l be 45.”  

Sherry’s wise friend said, “In ten years you’ll be 45 whether you go to med school or not.”

We each deserve the opportunity to bloom in our own time and in our own way. If there is an unfulfilled dream tugging at your heart today, my message is to go for it.  

Are you a late bloomer, too? I’d love to hear your story! Comment below. 

 

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