A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. Wikipedia
Funny…this definition of “late bloomer” from Wikipedia. I always thought it meant that the person doesn’t recognize his/her own talents until later in life, or that the talents don’t actually blossom until later.
Just recently my 32-year-old daughter was complaining that she hadn’t yet found her niche in life…as in career or partner. Sure, there are lots of jobs she’d love to have, but this is a brutal time in our nation’s history, even for college graduates, to find meaningful work that is compensated fairly. Like many others her age, she is underpaid, overworked and has few prospects.
While digging deep to respond to her in a useful yet sympathetic way I told her that she is a “late bloomer,” and that being a late bloomer is actually a family trait. I didn’t start on my path to becoming an ESL teacher until my early 40’s; my husband made a big career move just 15 years ago in his late 40’s; my 34-year-old son is still forging his path in the film industry and it will probably be several more years until he is more secure in his career.
I explained to my daughter that she is trying to live a “creative life,” and that is much more difficult than just getting a job or stepping into a career immediately after college graduation. In my family our problem is that we are each so interested in so many things that we find it difficult to focus on any one thing in particular. My son, daughter and myself are great travelers and have been fortunate enough to go to many interesting places. My son traveled in the Middle East, alone, just before the Arab Spring exploded. My daughter has been on an archaeological dig in Menorca, Spain, helping to unearth the graves of Roman soldiers and spent a semester in Australia learning about sustainable agriculture. My travels were less exotic but no less adventurous: I spent a year in Europe on my own visiting many countries and working parttime in Paris in the early ’70s. I made two trips to the Southwest in my 50’s to learn more about Native American culture, one of my many obsessions.
We all share a love of reading, writing, traveling, music, and now gardening. My home is perpetually inundated with books and artifacts of all the trips we’ve taken. My daughter has taken to calling our home The Suter Cultural Center. We may not be rich, but we collectively, and individually, lead a rich life.
So, while my daughter waits for her star to rise she occupies herself with playing the musical saw (she is a very competent violinist); crafting greeting cards and book sculptures; volunteering at the local Audubon center where she is curating a collection of bones and skulls donated to the center; tending her magnificent garden, and working parttime in a bookstore. In addition, she has boundless knowledge about many exotic creatures that include orangutans, whales, jellyfish, sloths, and tardigrades…you get the idea.
So teachers, keep this in mind as you get to know your students…some of us have boundless curiosity which is to be encouraged…but it is premature to label us too soon, for we often have no idea ourselves where we will end up. But one thing is for sure, the journey there will surely be fascinating.