I embrace being a late bloomer. It’s a term that was used a lot in schools when children weren’t maturing academically. Late bloomers can also mean when someone physically, emotionally, or creatively is slow to fully develop.
But the term took on new meaning for me after a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
A good or bad habit that I have is the need to do one more thing. Whether if it’s responding to an email, putting something away, or doing a small task on my to-do list, I’m always trying to do one more thing before I need to go somewhere.
This one more thing prompted a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden on a Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock.
We had had a spectacular spring. Some varieties of spring flowers don’t last long, so I wanted to see them before they were gone.
The Garden closed at 5. I had spent the day at my computer writing and needed to fill my spiritual tank with some beauty. So, I asked Robert if we could zip down to the Garden.
Always receptive (not always agreeing to my one more thing habit), Robert accepted my request. We piled in the car and arrived at 4:15. Most people were leaving, so we had the pick of many parking spaces.
The New Meaning to Late Bloomer
Walking through the entrance, we were greeted with a riot of color from azaleas lining the walking path on the right. To the left were a sea of daffodils and tulips in the colors of white, yellow, and salmon.
Except for this area, most of the tulips and daffodils had bloomed. That was until we walked to the vegetable area where they have other seasonal flowers. There on the right were giant tulips in an array of brilliant colors. The sign said. LATE TULIPS
These were the most striking tulips of all. They bloomed when all the other tulips died out.
Tulips are perennials. That means they regrow every spring.
In his beautiful book, Falling Upward – A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, author Richard Rohr says, “God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out.”
It’s Not Too Late for Tulips and It’s Not Too Late for You
Do you ever think that it’s too late to pursue a dream or follow your bliss? I know I did.
Looking back on a journal from 2009, I was lamenting over my dream of writing a book and not doing so at the age of 54. I thought it was too late.
In 2014 I was part of a mastermind group. In our first meeting, I remember sitting there in tears. They asked me what I was so emotional about. I shared my fear of being too old, that I felt time was running out to write a book.
Fast forward ten years since that journal entry and five years since that meeting. I have not only written and published one book but two in the last two years. Oddly, without trying, stressing, or striving to write one.
The words flowed through me as I spent a lot of time getting quiet and being still, allowing God the Gardener to do the necessary work in me to let go in order to grow.
It Takes Time to Fully Bloom from Within
I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of us spend the first half of our lives stressing and striving. During that time we are building an identity (outwardly in title and status), acquiring possessions (houses, cars, clothes, stuff), marrying, having children. The goal is to live out the American Dream.
It’s just what you do. There is very little time to be. Who has time for that?
There’s the yearning for balance, but most don’t realize the balance lies in nurturing your mind, body, and spirit. The balance being sought, instead, is life/work balance.
It’s only when life becomes overwhelming, or we ask the question: Is this all there is, that we seek greater meaning. Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, points out that meaning was the only thing that kept people from despair and suicide in the Nazi concentration camps.
The Time Has Never Been Better to Bloom Late in Life
According to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3. A woman turning 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.7.
That’s roughly 20 years after “retirement” age. I am always fascinated when I look back 5 years, 10 years, how much has happened in my life. It’s amazing what can happen in increments of 5-10 years… a LOT, as I shared with my writing two books as an example.
Access to learning has never been easier through the Internet. Depending on what interests you, you can probably find a You Tube video how to tutorial!
Blooming Late Does Not Mean Starting Over
Our local library has wonderful author events. One featured broadcaster and author was, Jane Pauley. She was promoting her book, Your Life Calling – Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. It is full of inspiring stories of people in their 50’s and beyond doing just that.
Her stories were picked up by the Today Show, where she was originally launched into stardom in 1976. On her first day for the Your Life Calling series, her husband sent her flowers and a card which read, “Congratulations on your return to where it all began.”
Reflecting on this returning, she wrote in her book, “Coming full circle is very different from going back to square one.”
That is an extremely powerful statement. With age (hopefully) does come wisdom. All of our life experiences make us wiser and stronger. So, we are not starting at square one.
Your Blooming is Right on Time
There are two types of time mentioned in Scripture: Chronos time and Kairos time. Both are Greek words.
Chronos time is chronological time like our calendars.
Kairos time is the opportune or appointed time. This is God’s time. When we listen and pay attention to the still small voice within, this voice will lead us and guide us to do the things we most desire and feel called to do.
If you don’t let go of “I’m too old” thinking, your life will pass you by with unfulfilled dreams and contributions. By the way, thinking, “I’m too young” will also have the same effect.
Embrace being a late bloomer. The world especially needs your experience and wisdom!
Are you thinking of pursuing a new endeavor or are in the process of following a dream or desire? Please share your response in the comment section below. Have questions? Share those too!