The Beauty of Being A Creative Late Bloomer: 4 Reasons to Celebrate Getting a Late Start to Your Creativity
Have you always wanted to write a book, paint, make music or follow another creative dream?
But maybe you've told yourself that it's too late or you just don't know how to get started?
Or maybe you’ve been working on your creativity for awhile but find yourself stagnating. Perhaps you’ve even had some success with your creative work but you don’t feel that same old excitement or charge that drove you when you were younger.
Maybe you haven’t had the success you wanted and you wonder if it’s time to focus on something else and let that dream go.
Often, we're naturally creative as children, but as we grow and get settled in the world our creativity gets set aside for other things and people.
But our creativity doesn't go away, even if we're not actively pursuing it. Our dreams will come creeping back and nudging us, no matter how much we try to talk ourselves out of them.
And while there is a beauty and fire to the energy and enthusiasm of our young creatives, the good news is that creative late bloomers have a lot to offer.
I know, because I’m a creative late bloomer.
Like many, I was creative as a child, but then drifted away from my creative side as I went through school, graduated with a business degree, and entered the work force. While I did enjoy my life and work at the time, I always felt like something was missing and I just wasn't doing what I was meant to do with my life.
When I started a career as a singer/songwriter in my thirties, I felt a little self-conscious at first. This may not seem that old, but in the music world that trends younger, it felt quite daunting! Especially since I didn’t really have a musical background and was teaching myself the basics of music as I went from gig to gig.
I remember feeling consumed by doubt about following my dream so late.
But then, two things happened.
First, I heard a story about a woman who worked as an accountant for forty years and then, when she retired, decided to follow her dream of becoming a ballerina.
Everyone laughed and told her that she couldn’t become a ballerina in her sixties.
But she ignored them and threw herself into her passion.
And guess what? She did it! She became a ballerina.
Later, in her eighties, she taught ballet and inspired others to follow their dreams at any age.
When I heard this story, I knew that I couldn't let my insecurities about my age hold me back from pursuing my dream.
This story also inspired one of my most popular songs to date, “Ballerina Girl.” When I started singing this song at concerts around the country and sharing the story of this inspiring woman, I was simply amazed at the reaction it would get.
So many people would approach me afterwards, often with tears, and tell me that they needed to hear that song. They had dreams that they were ignoring because they felt it was too late for them.
It wasn’t too late.
And it’s not too late.
In the words of Les Brown, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Right around the time that I started to take my music seriously, I went to a songwriting camp for adults called SummerSongs.
To my surprise, I was one of the youngest people there! I was surrounded by silver-haired retirees who were happily returning to the music that they had always loved to do but had set aside for work, raising families, and other life obligations.
And the songs that they wrote were incredible! They were filled with depth and the richness of their lives. These were songs that I didn't get to hear on the radio.
I realized that getting older meant that I had so much more to offer my creativity.
So not only is it not too late, but there are some distinct advantages to pursuing your creativity as a late bloomer. Here are just a few:
1. Life Experience
Let's face it, the longer we're here, the more stories we have to tell and the richer the wisdom and experience we have to share.
You have unique experiences that only YOU have had and your creativity is a perfect medium to share this experience.
It's lovely to hear the perspective of youth. But often our culture is dominated with youthful messages and we don't get to hear the perspective of other ages.
The more we, as late bloomers, share our creative work, the more variety there will be for people to enjoy.
2. Intentional Approach
Often, late bloomers can be more intentional and deliberate with their approach to their creativity.
There is a thoughtfulness that allows for the creative idea to emerge in a beautiful, step-by-step progression.
Because late bloomers often don’t feel that their creative dream needs to be realized by tomorrow, they can plan better and work in a more methodical way towards their goals.
Late bloomers are often more likely to finish a creative project.
3. Focus On Process Rather Than External Success
Although many late bloomers achieve worldly success, their focus is often on the creative process rather than fame and external success.
They focus more on the internal process: what is happening as they create, what comes up, what are they discovering?
The milestones tend to be more of a sense of accomplishment and of learning.
Late bloomers can achieve a nice balance between the fire of youth and the steadiness of wisdom and life experience. This balance allows them to produce strong creative work.
This sense of balance that often comes with life experience allows creative late bloomers to be more productive with their creative work.
Many creative late bloomers that I’ve worked with in my Creativity Coaching practice have also been able to balance their creativity quite well with the other aspects of their life: work, family etc. Sometimes this balance can feel more challenging when we’re younger.
Some Famous Creative Late Bloomers:
Van Gogh didn't start painting until his late twenties and had his first exhibition at 32.
Toni Morrison and George Eliot both had their first novels published when they were 40.
Julia Child didn’t start cooking until her late 30s.
The singer Susan Boyle began her career at age 46.
Frank McCourt began writing at 64 and his first novel, Angela's Ashes, was published when he was 66.
And many more!
Hopefully this has inspired you to move forward with your creativity and not let age (or anything else) prevent you from sharing your unique gifts with the world...
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