How to be a proud late bloomer. Why it’s never too late to dream a new dream

This is a more personal story. Story of a broken child who struggled to find the right path and now as an adult woman is calling herself a ‘proud late bloomer’.

When you approach the moment at which you realise that most likely you have passed the ‘halfway-through’ point of your life – it can feel a bit scary. Maybe you will ask yourself: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

And then, immediately a fear creeps in, making you think it might be too late to do all the things you have always wanted to do….

I call myself a proud late bloomer. Now.

But for a quite long time as I would think about it, the feeling accompanying this realisation would be the one of disappointment.

I would be disappointed that I didn’t start travelling earlier. That I was an awkward child and then, a very self-conscious young adult. I would be disappointed that it took me so long to find the life path I am on right now. And most importantly – it feels like it took me a really long time to get into awareness of needing to get on that path. 

I would ask myself: Would my life be different if I was one of those self-aware, innovative, energetic and brave young people that know what they want from life and go out and get it?

How different would my life be if I had a childhood filled with opportunities and heart full of confidence?

But would it? 

 ‘Flowers don’t know they are late bloomers, they are right in season’

I was a pretty awkward child.

I definitely wasn’t one of the cool kids. At the age of 13, I would read poetry and sit in my room in the company of my thoughts and imagination. I would have one or two close friends – with whom I would talk about books and run around the park pretending we are treasure hunters.

I wasn’t into the makeup or fashion. Nor dating. I was in love with one boy for 3 years. The boy that would not have any interest in me. I would fantasise and cry, and break my own heart over it. I also read tons of books.

Then I went to high school and out of my rebellious nature, I became a poor student who never attended the class. Dressed in black and heavy metal t-shirts. I would put black eyeliner on my eyes to be then sent by the teacher to the bathroom to get it washed off. Teachers used to say that I have great potential if only I wanted to put the work in.

But I didn’t. 

I was 18 years old when I went to the disco (that’s how we used to call it then) for the first time. I got hooked and dance, this way or another, became a part of my life for many years afterwards.

I started transforming from an awkward rebellious nerd into a ‘regular girl’ wearing high heels, makeup and going to the student clubs. But I was so behind. Emotionally. As much as my social life was great, I had great friends and started to become more and more independent…

I was a truly awful person to date.

I guess I was for a long time into my adulthood. Having absolutely no examples of functional relationship and how the partnership between man and a woman should look like, I kind of behaved like an animal which just got out of the cage. Not literally, but all my reactions were arising from pure emotional responses, fear of abandonment, codependency and lack of self-awareness.

As the years passed and I went deeper into regular socialising, making friends, going out and taking the short trips – just what young people do – I understood more how I’m being perceived and my behaviour toned down as I learnt how to pretend I’m OK. In fact, pretending and creating a perceived version of ‘Me’ was my main activity since I was around 12.

As a child, I would go to school and tell stories about what was happening at home. It was alienating my peers and definitely, I was regarded to be a bit of a weirdo. I remember vividly, coming home one day and thinking: ‘No one likes whining and complaining people. I need to smile more and be happier, have happy stories to tell.’ So I did.

I became this funny person and perfected it over the years.

I knew how to pretend I was OK – but deep insight, I wasn’t. The extreme feeling of the lack of confidence and self-acceptance, the inability to set healthy boundaries and readiness to walk away at the blink of the smallest problem – created a string of unhealthy relationships. 

I got on a path of self-development in my late 30’s.

And it happened by chance, really. Wanting to finally figure out what I wanted to do career-wise, I attended a coaching class. And from there the ball started rolling. First, I was introduced to the concept of limiting beliefs. From that point I was relentlessly reading and watching videos on self-acceptance, I read ‘The Secret’, I was introduced to Buddhism, Yoga and Meditation. I practised positive affirmations. I read about how your thoughts create your reality.

A completely new world has opened to me.

I enrolled in a counselling course. I started to actually understand the extent to which my life and the emotional structure was shaped by my childhood experiences and emotional traumas. I also realised the door I have opened, has led to a really long road of self-recovery, self-understanding and awareness. That this path will lead to some digging that might be pretty painful.

And only in my 40s, I started really appreciating the benefits of being a late bloomer.

And how long it took me to get to where I am right now. If it wasn’t for all the struggle I don’t think I would even attempt to step on that path. 

Maybe I would be more successful as a young adult. Maybe I would get into some kind of career, have healthier relationships and now live in a house I own, surrounded by my children and loving husband.

But maybe not. Maybe I would live the life that was suggested to me by society believing that this is the top of all the achievements, whilst deep in my heart having that hidden longing for something more. 

I don’t regret anything. I am proud to be a late bloomer. This nearly 20 years long journey guided me to the point in my life where I don’t require social acceptance to respect who I am and who I still might become. This is the most fulfilling journey. 

My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.

Michael Jordan

In the article ‘Why late bloomers are happier and more successful’ the author says:

‘Late bloomers learn resilience. Early disappointments force concessions, […], and they reshape expectations. It is no doubt sad that the best way to gain strength is by falling and continually bouncing back, practising, working around obstacles. But this flexibility is critical to long-term success.’

Nothing can be achieved if we don’t take the first step. We’ve got to treat failures as a learning curve rather than defeat.

J.K. Rowling, who published the first Harry Potter book in her 30’s after years of living on welfare and nearing depression said: “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged.“

If, like me, you feel you are a late bloomer and maybe regret some of the years you wasted on getting here…

Trust me – none of those years was wasted. Because it takes time to become excellent. Maybe it takes a decade to build a career, buy a house and a car.

But it takes much more than that to become the best version of yourself.

All those years of struggle – the failures, rock bottoms, traumas and often deep sadness were all stepping stones on the road to going above and creating your own story. 

Do not give up. Don’t stop searching. 

Sometimes you know, deep in your heart, what you want to do but the scale of the dream scares you. Don’t let it. Who said that we are made for ordinary life. The extraordinary is what we should strive for.

Or maybe it took you ages to figure out what your dream really is (like in my case). But the truth is the dream was always there, just buried deep under the mundane life and dreams that were imposed on you by family, peers or society.

“The most beautiful thing is that despite the shallow life we sometimes succumb to – the soul has no timeline and it knows what it wants and will yearn within until it seeks the journey”

― Malebo Sephodi

I was searching for years trying to figure out what would be my dream job.

I even googled ‘List of all jobs in the world’ and read this list over and over hoping that something will shout to me as I see it. It didn’t.

But one day, just after my 40th birthday I asked myself a question: ‘What is it that you have always done without even thinking it’s a job. What is it that you were doing since you were young, still do, and can imagine yourself doing for the rest of your life?’

And the answer came naturally. It was writing. And travelling. And this way I found my dream job. Which is not a job yet – but will be one day 🙂 

Yet, I would probably not even be able to come out with this kind of question if it wasn’t for this journey of self-discovery, winding road of asking million other questions. 

For you, it could be anything. A new career, business venture, maybe writing a book, going to University or taking this trip around the world. You can become anything you want at any point in your life. There is no such thing as too late. Especially now, We are blessed to live during times when the sky really is the limit. There was never a better time to be a proud late bloomer.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

– C.S. Lewis

And trust me when you will find the calling – you will know in your gut that this is the right thing.

The work will only start there – but you will want to put in the work. It will become the best and most important job you have ever had. 

And don’t be scared if the road takes a sudden turn. Trust it. Nothing is predictable. Maybe the job you started or the adventure you took on, will open doors to even more incredible opportunities – maybe you will find new hobbies, passions that you didn’t even know you would find exciting. Never stop searching.

And never stop asking questions. One day you will find your answer 🙂

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Pati's Journey Within

Hi, I’m Pati. A traveller, photographer (aspiring), dreamer and hopeless believer in magic. I have caught the travel bug in my forties – and not planning to look back any time soon. I travel solo and on a budget and try to spend as much time and effort to truly immerse myself in the country I am visiting.

Whether you are like me and decided to change your life around a new dream or just wandering (because not all who wander are lost) – I am here to tell you that everything is possible. 

 

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