About Debra and Later Bloomer
Hello and welcome! I’m Debra Eve and I’ve always been intrigued by people who embrace art and adventure later in life.
Yet when I searched for an archive of those stories, I couldn’t find one. So I created my own and called it LaterBloomer.com, though it has nothing to do with being late.
“Late blooming” is a gardening term. Like the pomegranate tree that fruits in fall, we all bloom in our own time. For me, it’s about the aha! moment (or memory) that transforms everything that follows.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.” But Later Bloomers often resonate with sci-fi author Bruce Sterling’s advice—“Follow your weird!”
Later Bloomer is also a blog-to-book(s) project. Once or twice a month I profile a late-blooming artist, athlete, explorer, or writer, age 35 and up. Most are over age 50. Some are famous, some are not.
I’ve collected more than 180 lives that will span at least four anthologies. The first, Later Bloomers: 35 Folks Over Age 35 Who Found Their Passion and Purpose, is currently available for Kindle.
I also randomly write about learning, creativity, longevity, anti-retirement, and cultivating an enduring vision. For an introduction, please check out Why Are Some People Later Bloomers?
I’ve always been a late bloomer. Until recently, I did what others thought I should—especially my parents.
They thought I needed to earn a “decent” living, so I left home at 19 to study business.
By age 26, I managed the contracts department for a large aerospace firm.
Every day I wondered, Is this it? I hated the corporate milieu. I dreamed of an exciting, creative, intellectual life, so:
- At 30, I entered UCLA to study Anthropology.
- At 32, I spent the summer in the California Channel Islands doing archaeology.
- At 33, I received an Ahmanson Foundation Grant to help Dr. Maria Gimbutas bring her final book to fruition.
- At 35, I excavated a medieval motte in Wales and a Neolithic passage tomb in Ireland.
- At 36, I earned an MA in Anthropology, with an specialization in Archaeology.
- At 38, I took up Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s martial art) and eventually became a beginning class instructor.
- At 40, I backpacked solo across Europe.
- At 41, I learned sword fighting from a real-life modern Amazon while co-managing an Olympic fencing center.
- At 43, I bungy-jumped off a bridge in New Zealand.
- At 44, I attended screenwriting school (and discovered I had neither the desire nor the talent to write movies).
- At 46, I found the love of my life and got married.
And at 47, I got sick. Chronic, soul-crushing pelvic pain that remains my nemesis after two surgeries.
The pain returned after I had my uterus sliced up by lasers and siphoned out. I completely broke down.
I was 50 years old, in constant pain, with 35 extra pounds, $35,000 in debt and wondering, Is this it?
What happened to that other person who was me?
Between wracking sobs, an inner voice said,
You can be miserable for the rest of your life or you can be something else. Choose well—you could have another 50 years.
Another half-century of illness and self-pity, parked in front of the TV supporting the pharmaceutical industry? No way.
I’m going to be a healthy late-blooming centenarian and I want to inspire you to join me.
Because creativity never gets old!
P.S. I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on any post, email elle.b [at] laterbloomer [dot] com, or use the envelope icon in the sidebar (at the bottom).