Does an article about yet another twenty-something internet millionaire make you wonder where you went wrong?

Does a story about a grandma who ran her first marathon at 86 make your day?

Me, too. I’m Debra Eve and I’ve always been intrigued by people who embrace art and adventure later in life.

Debra Eve of Later BloomerYet when I searched for a central archive of those stories, I couldn’t find one. So I created LaterBloomer.com.

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 also write about learning, creativity, longevity, anti-retirement, and cultivating an enduring vision. For an introduction, check out Why Are Some People Later Bloomers?

Being a Later Bloomer has nothing to do with being late. Like the pomegranate tree that fruits in fall, we all bloom in our own time. For me, it’s about the aha! moment that transforms everything that follows.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.” But we Later Bloomers often resonate more with sci-fi author Bruce Sterling’s advice—“Follow your weird!”

LaterBloomer.com is also a blog-to-book(s) project. I’ve collected more than 180 lives that will span at least four volumes. The first, Later Bloomers: 35 Folks Over Age 35 Who Found Their Passion and Purpose, is available for Kindle.

Volume 1 is a collection of my earliest blog posts. But the last few years have changed my focus. I’m rewriting Volume 1 to better reflect the healing and transformative power of embracing creativity. Look for the Second Edition soon!Later Bloomers on Amazon.com

My Story

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 international contracts 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.
Doing archaeology in the '90s
Doing archaeology in the ’90s

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.

Warmly,
signatureP.S.  I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on any post or email elle.b [at] laterbloomer [dot] com. You can sign up to receive posts by mail and other goodies below.