What’s Wrong With the Term “Late Bloomer”?

What’s Wrong With the Term “Late Bloomer”?

posted in: Essays | 13

“It’s not just the condescending phrase—the whispered implication that they should have bloomed earlier.” ~Daniel Coyle

The term “late bloomer” can describe angsty adolescents, professional athletes over 25, and of course, people who discover or rediscover their passions as older adults.

But some people don’t like that term:

“Late bloomers? Late for what? What is it we’re late for? The term ‘late bloomers’ pushes a button for me.” ~CNN Interview

The former marketing exec quoted above had the high-powered job, the house, the car, the clothes—and lost everything in the recent meltdown. In her 40s, she returned to school and found her calling as a therapist, yet still takes umbrage to the term “late bloomer.”

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But “late bloomer” began as a gardening phrase, one without stigma. It speaks of witnessing something beautiful on an autumn day. Late-blooming flowers provide nutrition to migrating butterflies. Pomegranates fruit in the fall.

There’s a couple in Corvallis who took their rare late-blooming moonflower cactus (pictured above) camping so as not to miss its show.

The flowers don’t know they’re late bloomers. They’re right in season.

The trick to designing your garden…is making sure you have something wonderful in bloom all the time. ~About.com

That’s the trick to designing a life too, which is why I call myself a “proud late bloomer.”

13 Responses

  1. David Stevens
    | Reply

    Hi Debra,
    Thankyou for the inside info on “late blooming”. I have no problems with the term. Because you “bloomed” later in Life doesn’t mean you haven’t bloomed earlier either. To me it’s just finding your perfect niche at a later stage in Life.
    thank you & be good to yourself

    • Debra Eve
      |

      I completely agree. That’s why I love the gardening analogy — the idea of designing a garden to always have something wonderful blooming. You’re doing a fantastic job with those design plans at your blog, David!

    • David Stevens
      |

      Thank you Debra

  2. asrai devin
    | Reply

    Just because their is an average age for something to pass doesn’t mean you can’t do it later.

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Absolutely! There’s certainly no “best used by” date for anything. Thanks for stopping by, Asrai!

  3. Deb,
    I have no problem with that term. I’d call myself a late bloomer. I didn’t allow my true passions to come out until I was in my mid-40s. I’m on my third career now and it feels great!

    • Debra Eve
      |

      I’m with you, Angela. I like being an autumn flower, personally! Blooming at anytime is a blessing.

    • Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition
      |

      Debra,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you!
      Thank you so much for the book.
      I received it on Monday and am loving it.
      Thank you again,
      Angela

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Yay! So glad to hear. Thanks for letting me know, Angela.

  4. dan bloom
    | Reply

    My reading of the term in the media is that it has now taken on a positive
    meanng of someone who did amazing and interesting things with their life later in life, which could be anywhere from age 21 t0 101

    • Debra Eve
      |

      I agree, Dan. I think the connotations are becoming more positive with time.

  5. Dave Leggett
    | Reply

    We all have one life (except cats) and to have the opportunity to bloom in that lifetime is a blessing.

    Reading about others who have found their passion/calling (and achieved blooming later in their lives and in a lot of cases through hardship) through blog posts such as these, is truly inspiring.

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thanks, baby. I so appreciate your support.

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