Late Bloomers are a special breed and often misunderstood. They can appear ridiculous to the rest of the world as they pursue some private dream or else bounce from one profession to another. In the end they have a longer road and a tougher climb for their journey requires tremendous faith, courage, and an iron will to keep going, especially when there’s no tangible success or positive feedback. In a way they are like the stubborn, dogged blooms that grow in unlikely places under harsh conditions; they are the desert flowers, the indomitable trees pushing through city sidewalks; they are the long shot, the dark horse, the voice crying int he wilderness. Ultimately they are our heroes whose challenges, triumphs, and stories inspire and uplift us and like a beacon of light keep us moving in the direction of our dreams.
Every late bloomer has their own unique story but it seems to me there are two general categories. The first knows exactly what he or she wants to do and focuses exclusively on it; it just takes them longer to develop their craft. Cezanne is a classic example; he had his first one man show at fifty-six. In Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant essay, Late Bloomers (from his book, What the Dog Saw) he write about Cezanne at length. Thanks to an allowance from his father he never had to take a regular job and devoted himself completely to his art. “Cezanne was trying something so elusive that he couldn’t master it until he’d spent decades practicing.”
Another example is Julia Child. If you saw the movie Julie & Julia, you will remember how long she worked on her famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and how many revisions she and her co-author did. Even after they secured a book deal and the manuscript was completed and delivered, the publisher changed his mind and rejected it. It was the publisher’s assistant who discovered the manuscript, tried the recipes and convinced her boss to reconsider. Julia Child was forty-nine (at her Chiron Return) when the book was finally published. Nine months later she launched her television career which spanned three decades.