Late Bloomers: A great thing for adult learners

No longer should being a “late bloomer” feel like a back-handed comment, or receiving an unflattering pat-on-the-back. But alas, now you’re a productive person after supposedly wasting years, even decades, in unproductive idleness. Some in society may see late bloomers as those who finally made good on their wasted potential:

They got it wrong; for the times are a-changin’.

For example, CBS News Sunday Morning recently aired a segment on late bloomers (beautifully done by Susan Spencer) that took the gardening and flowering analogy (associated with the term) and re-planted late bloomers as a great thing, a natural occurrence, even an American event worthy for all ages to respect and appreciate.

Stories of people becoming a huge success later in life (40, 50, 60 and older) are countless to name, some are widely celebrated.  Yet there is something about what the author Katz wisely-witted, “old age comes at a bad time,” which may reveal the actual fear about blooming late: losing life and dying without ever leaving something significant.

Surprisingly, what makes being a late-bloomer great is not measured by time, age, or level of success.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The flower analogy can mislead us in thinking that late is bad, when early-blooming could be as equally worse. A more accurate assessment sees the celebration, the simply joy in itself, in a lifetime of learning that a flower blooms!

In this way, we understand the analogy for a new time and a new season. As lifelong learners, we are all flowers, budding, blooming, continually blossoming as our learning grows whenever and however:

So happy season.


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