Randy Cooper took his first sculpture class in his 40s and knew he’d found his life’s work. Since then, he’s become famous for his wire mesh creations, which include a chocolate dress and yes, a sea cow!
About Later Bloomer
A late blooming adult is a person who does not discover their talents and abilities until later than normally expected. ~Wikipedia (emphasis mine)
“Late” bloomers journey outside what their peers consider a normal timeline.
This adventure isn’t about a particular age. It’s about the aha! moment that transforms everything that follows.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.” But late bloomers resonate more with sci-fi author Bruce Sterling’s advice — “Follow your weird!”
Here at LaterBloomer.com, I inspire late bloomers to pursue that impulse through biographies, essays, book reviews, and more.
What You’ll Find Here
Biographies: Once a week I profile a Later Bloomer from the arts, humanities, or sciences. I don’t cover the corporate milieu, so you won’t find the founders of MacDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken here.
Essays: Occasionally I write about learning, creativity, adventure, longevity, anti-retirement, and cultivating an enduring vision. For an introduction, please check out Why Are Some People Later Bloomers?
Ebooks: Laterbloomer.com is a blog-to-book(s) project. I’ve collected 150 lives, which I anthologize on Kindle from time to time.
The first volume, Later Bloomers: 35 Folks Over Age 35 Who Found Their Passion and Purpose, can be found here.
I’ve always been a late bloomer. Until recently, I did what others thought I should — especially my parents. They thought I should get out of the house and 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 a combined BA and 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 through my navel. 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 you to join me.
You know what they say — better late than never!
P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment on any post or email elle.b (at) laterbloomer.com. (Elle B is my old pen name. It was a little too cute — Elle B for LB for LaterBloomer. But I was fond of it and keep it for emails.)