I love my late bloomer lifestyle. I’ve take my time and I make decisions when I want to. And because I’ve been blooming late for all of my 32 years, I never feel left behind.

Late Bloomer Lifestyle

Original photo byAnnie Spratt

Just in case you wanted to doubt my status as a late bloomer, I’ll go on the record as a 32-year old woman who has never been married. I’ve never had a kid. I’ve never owned a house. I’ve only recently found the career path that’s best for me. And I’ve dabbled in a lot of things, studied different subjects, and just kind of experienced life at my pace.

I have never jumped into something, whether it’s a job or a college major or a relationship. I take this late bloomer lifestyle seriously.

So while some folks like to show off all they accomplished early in life, I’m here to brag about what I haven’t done.

(Note: I think it’s stupid to compare yourself to others. So, I need to acknowledge here that “late bloomer” is a relative term, which inherently requires comparison. I just want to state this because no one should feel like they need to look at others as guideposts. And to be clear, in order for me to be okay with being a late bloomer on ALL THINGS, I can’t lead a life where I do care about what others are doing. I’d go crazy.)

Late Bloomer Lifestyle Fact

It’s easy to feel left behind when your friends are hitting milestones at different times than you. Sure, there are moments when I feel like I should be married and have kids and a mortgage. But mostly, I feel an immense amount of gratitude that I don’t.

Because if I did, I wouldn’t have half the freedom I have now.

I wake up in the morning and start writing immediately. I don’t have to wake up another person. I don’t have to get anyone ready for school. (I do have to walk a dog, but I wake up too early for her liking, so she likes to sleep while I work.) As a writer who also happens to be a woman, I’m all too aware of what a luxury my singledom is.

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When you’re a woman who doesn’t have to care for others, you’re in a unique position to work on what you want to work on. Traditional institutions, like marriage, don’t typically serve the dreams of women.

Now, this doesn’t mean that every woman who does have kids and a marriage and a mortgage isn’t in a position to work on their art. But It does mean that I’ve got more time to do it than most women my age. And while I freely admit that I would change my situation under the right circumstances, I absolutely will not under the wrong ones.

Because here’s an important secret of the late bloomer lifestyle: There’s an immense amount of joy that comes from missing out.

There's an immense amount of joy that comes from missing out. Click To Tweet

You heard me. But how about one more time for the cheap seats:

There’s an immense amount of joy that comes from missing out.

If you live your life with the fear of missing out on things that you’re not a part of, then knock that shit off, like yesterday.

If you fear that you’re missing out on something, that means that you’re thinking about alternatives to where you really are, which means you aren’t present in your current moment. And if you’re not present in the current moment, you can’t appreciate what you have, who you are, and what you’re doing.

And if you can’t appreciate it, then you don’t see the value of where you are.

The fear of missing out only leads you to make choices that ultimately don’t serve you. It makes you choose to rush to catch up. It puts you in positions that you’re not ready for. It puts you smack dab in the middle of a crowd, when you haven’t taken the time alone to realize what you really need.

Fear of missing out is a liar. It tells you that you’re supposed to be somewhere else, with another person, doing something different. And worst of all, fear of missing out won’t let you take the time you need to bloom.

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The Joy of Missing Out

Some of the best Friday nights I’ve ever had were spent sipping chamomile tea on my couch with my dog. (She didn’t have any tea, though, not for lack of trying.) My favorite weekends are the ones I spend by myself, working on my writing. The best workouts I get are hours I spend on my yoga mat in the comfort of my own living room.

And while advertisements and social media posts would have you believe that you missed the best party ever, or you can’t get fit without overpriced group fitness classes, or that you need to be in constant contact with everyone so you’re never out of the loop, it’s all bullshit.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s a pillar concept of the late bloomer lifestyle.

The time you spend alone working on yourself is the most important time you’ll ever spend.

I can’t emphasize this enough. In fact, why don’t I say it again for the cheap seats?

The time you spend alone working on yourself is the most important time you’ll ever spend.

The time you spend alone working on yourself is the most important time you'll ever spend. Click To Tweet

(Just a little reminder: You’re supposed to be here. So be present in that moment, and figure out why you’re here.)

The more time you spend trying to catch up to others and drowning your inner thoughts in the company of others, the more you numb what it is that you are inside. Then once that’s numb, you ignore what you really want to do. And while it all looks well and good on the outside — you’re meeting those very important milestones like marriage and family and career and homeownership! — on the inside, you’re not happy.

(That seems really evident to me. Like, how do people get to that point in their life? Did they not have punk rock in your neighborhood while you were growing up? Because, dude, if I got it in Edmond, Oklahoma, then you totally should’ve found a bunch of bands that told you to shun establishment ideals and just live your life.)

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This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with finding a job you love at a young age, or getting married young, or working at a job that isn’t your ideal job, or having kids before you accomplish a dream. Sometimes you get lucky when you’re young and find yourself in a good place. Sometimes you find love when you’re young and you’re ready to get married. Sometimes you have to take a job to pay the bills until there’s something else. Sometimes you have kids and they make your life whole so you can accomplish your dream.

But there is something wrong with forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do just because you feel like you’re supposed to. And doing something you feel like you have to do just because you’re “a grown up” isn’t valiant or dutiful. It’s dumb. And what’s more, it’s selfish. You’re doing something just to make yourself feel like you belong without thinking about the long term consequences.

Don’t put yourself in a spot that you’re not ready to be in. Don’t hit a milestone you don’t want to hit. The only person you’re really hurting is yourself, but to be fair, at least you’ll be in good company, right? Just you, and all those other folks who never learned the joy of missing out…

Late Bloomer Lifestyle 4 Life

What about you? Do you rush to hit milestones and rites of passage? Do you like sitting alone and figuring out what you’re meant to do? Are you team JOMO or team FOMO?

Late Bloomer Lifestyle: The Joy of Missing Out Click To Tweet

11 Responses

  1. I really loved it and I’m a mix of late bloomer and doing things as per usual. I got married at 21 (wish I hadn’t done that and waited about three more years and done a Masters degree right after I graduated) so that’s one of those per usuals but then we moved to Florida and did all sorts of weird stuff while people were having babies and such. Late bloomer in that I waited until mid 30s to have a kid…but I still do things weird. Also, mixing it up because we are going to stick with one kid.

    I do miss that freedom of being able to doing things for myself but for now I am “being here” as you say—I’m here because I chose to be here with all the messy parts it created.

    I do like this post. It resonates!

    1. Thank you! And there are definitely things I think I’ve missed out on. Jobs I should’ve taken, or relationships I should’ve followed… But I’m okay with it because I can appreciate where I am now

  2. These days, I am total JOMO. In my mid 20s I was engaged and had it in my head I was going to be married, own a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. Instead, I was married and divorced within a year. [PLOT TWIST: my ex and I remain the best of friends]. I remarried 2 years later (in hindsight I probably should have waited a few more years) and never thought I’d end up a SAHW. Boy did life throw one hell of a curveball.

    By 34 I realized climbing the corporate ladder was not for me, though Lord knows I tried so I could be like my peers at UNLV. Not surprisingly I was miserable. Now, at 37, I’m really going for what I want. On the one hand I think, “Took you long enough!” On the other, “The timing is perfect. It was at your pace, you did what you needed to do.” I’m working on silencing the former because it’s kind of an asshole.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Like so many posts of yours it really resonates with me and for that I am grateful.

    1. Silence that naysayer. It’s just an internal jerk that cares too much about what others think. Just live your life the way you want.

  3. I’ve got to get rid of the FOMO. Now is the time for me to be able to figure out what I really want and I’m too busy thinking about what might happen, weeks, months, and years from now.

    1. Stay present. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier. Do for you what you need to do, and the what ifs will come if they come. But mostly, they don’t.

  4. Shout-out from a fellow late bloomer! I too am spouseless, houseless, and kidless. On my JOMO days, I think about all the places I’ve gotten to travel; the heartbreak I’ve been spared by not being married to the wrong person; the absolute freedom I have in choosing how I spend my time, my money, my energy, etc.; and how I can pour myself into volunteering and advocating for causes and organizations that are important to me.

    On FOMO or COMO (Crying Over Missing Out) days, sure, I think about what it’d be like to be married, have kids, own a house, or be making bank, but joy creeps in more days than not. Thanks for the inspiring post! #TeamJOMO all the way!

  5. Brilliant post my friend, and so right on time. As I’m approaching 40(insert all crying emojis here), I’ve been thinking about what I’ve accomplished, and I don’t see much. Husband? nope! Kids? Nope! College degree? Nah! A career? Hahaha. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where I went wrong, or what I missed. But maybe you’re right: I am where I’m supposed to be, and maybe middle age is where I’m going to bloom. I hope so.

    1. Oh girl. You never went wrong. There’s just something left to figure out. Everything falls into place when it’s supposed to. And they say 30 is the new 20, so 40 has to be the new 30. You’re so much younger than you think.

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