Updated: Mar 2
I wrote the below blog post a little over six years ago for a previous blog of mine and have always loved it because it tells my story so well. I wrote this in December of 2014 when I was 32. Ten months later, in October 2015, at age 33, I would meet my future husband.
Being a "late bloomer" is just a part of my identity: it's kind of who I am. And it also ties into this whole journey I'm currently on. Because it tends to take me longer than others to reach certain milestones in life, I, honestly, was not all that surprised that my journey to motherhood has not been simple and linear. And, I'm sure I'm not alone in this when I say that I did not prioritize my health, wellness, and self-care. That always seemed to come last.
I think the only thing that came quickly and easily to me was academics; I'm very much that "absent-minded professor" type where books and reading and writing and learning just made sense to me, most other things--like driving, dating, marriage, finances, cooking--took me much longer to grasp. That last one I still don't have down, but, luckily, I married a guy who enjoys cooking and likes to take control of the kitchen. We don't act on typical gender roles; we just do the things at home that mesh most with our personalities and strengths.
So, I hope you enjoy the following blog post and that it provides more background into who I am. If you don't know me, personally, it will serve as somewhat of an introductory post, to learn more about me and why you should be interested in what I have to say. Maybe you'll even connect with me because you, too, are a late bloomer.
Not that I look too different, but here's a pic of me now and, below, from 2014 when I wrote the original blog post.
Welcome to my first post! So, in essence, I think that this whole “thirsty at 30” thing has a lot to do with being a late-bloomer — not for everyone, of course, but it is true for me. It always took me longer than others to reach certain phases of life (well, not everything... had my period come a little later, I’d be taller), or so I thought. I should mention that school and academics always came easy for me, but that was about it. Yet, in the end, I always reach every milestone, just at my own pace.
Here are some examples:
1. I didn’t have my first date til I was 18.
When I was maybe 13, a friend asked me at a bat mitzvah if I wanted to go out with some cute friend of hers. I remember feeling utterly terrified, and I’m sure by the look on my face, she could tell I wasn’t ready! So…that definitely didn’t happen. During high school, I seemed to think that everyone was dating or hooking up but me. I later found out this was untrue, but it’s a reality of teenage life to feel this way. Walking down the hallways at school, I always would overhear info about who was going out with who, leaving me feeling left out. Yet, I’m not sure how exciting “dating” at this age really was…
My first date was technically my senior prom date. He was a neighbor/friend, and I asked him. I remember how excited I was when he said “yes” — not that I was so in love with him, per say, but just the fact that I had a date. OMG! I lived in South Florida at the time, so we had dinner before prom at a nice restaurant overlooking the Intercoastal in Ft. Lauderdale (and drove down in his mom’s little red BMW convertible). The prom itself was just okay; there was no after party or anything. He dropped me off at 11 or 11:30, I think. Pretty lame. The best part was definitely the car.
The first date I had where the guy asked me out came only a couple of months later in the summer of 2000, when I met a friend of my brother’s friend (make sense?) by accident one day when I was with my mom and brother back in Philly. He pursued me (really pursued me and even cried over me), and we dated for a few weeks, but since I knew I was starting college in the fall, I wasn’t ready…and he was also a bit too much too soon. FYI: I’m still friends with this guy today, and he would still take me back.
2. I didn’t have my first kiss til I was 18.
18 was a big age for me. Dates, kisses, wow! This was when life started to get good! The kiss was with the guy I’m still friendly with, not the prom date. No kisses there.
I used to think this was late, and it kind of is. But as I got older, I realized I wasn’t alone. There were other late-bloomers who could sympathize with me.
In terms of actually making out, that didn’t come until my freshman year of college, and it was less than memorable, unfortunately — definitely not one of my finer moments. He was this nerdy guy with braces, and it only happened because we were drunk with a couple others while hanging out in his dorm room — my first drunken experience, might I add.
3. I didn’t get my driver’s license til I was almost 18.
I was never the best at hands-on things. While others couldn’t wait to start driving, I really couldn’t care less because, to be honest, I really didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t have a boyfriend or many friends, and the ones I had lived in my neighborhood.
I did take my permit test, but it took me, embarrassingly, several times of taking it to pass! The scholar in me remained dormant, and I just didn’t bother to really study. Once I finally got the permit, my mom and I thought I should take more time to really practice and learn and feel comfortable before getting my license, which was a really good thing considering most 16-year-olds have no clue how to drive.
Driver’s ed came, and I took professional lessons with this really offbeat character with an out-of-control mane named Norm, who would actually run his errands during driving lessons, as in having us stop at his house to get something, drop by the bank, etc. Norm also didn’t put on the air conditioning during the hot summer days of August 1998, and just having windows down made the driving somewhat uncomfortable, but anyway…
I took my driving test a couple of times, but failed the parallel parking. I just couldn’t get quite close enough. Fast-forward to a few months later: I moved to Florida and took the test where parallel parking was not required to pass. And…I still failed! I later realized it was because, at 4’10,” I wasn’t tall enough to see well enough in my low-seating Nissan 240sx sports coupe to park in the space without hitting the cones. Oops. A trip to Wal-Mart to purchase something called a “wedge” (really, a more sophisticated substitute for the ‘ol phone book) worked wonders. I passed on my 7th(?) time. When I was told I passed, I couldn’t believe it finally happened, so I literally hugged the driving coach and said incredulously, “You mean I passed?” Yes, this really happened.
4. I didn’t have my first actual boyfriend til I was 21.
Considering I didn’t have my first date or kiss until I was 18, I guess this isn’t so unusual. I was always picky and still am, but the first one sort of, well, picked me. He decided he wanted me, and even with all my attempts to dodge his aggressive and annoying ways — and several months of going back-and-forth with the on-and-off B.S. — I eventually gave in and fell madly in love with him. It was young love, though — not that it wasn’t real, but it wasn’t meant to last forever. It was intense, a roller coaster of sorts. He was cute, fun, charming, funny, and giving, but also a control-freak with a major anger problem. Had we gotten married (which we discussed and even got close to an engagement in late 2006), we surely would have ended in divorce. When things were good, they were so good, but when they were bad, they were really bad.
Anyway, I could write a whole entire book about him and this relationship, but I’ll end it with this: I’m grateful for what it was at that naive time in our lives. It was definitely a learning experience for me.
5. I’m still single in my early 30s, still working on my career, and basically “thirsty at 30.”
And today, at 32, I’ve had to move home more than once after college. I’m not married and never have been. I’ve never lived with a boyfriend or been engaged (although I did have a ring purchased for me by ex-boyfriend #1, who will be forever known as “Asshole”). I don’t have any kids. All in all, there are no baby pics to share on Facebook, no ridiculously staged engagement photos, no tacky engagement ring pics. Just yeah, this post where I announced a new job with a PR firm that disappointingly ended after a week and a half due to the job and company being the very WRONG fit and a psychotic, demanding company owner/boss who must have had something seriously go wrong in her childhood in order to treat an employee so poorly.
Late-bloomers may bloom late, but they sure do bloom.
To make a long story short, this is just my tale of being a late-bloomer. There are other things I did late, like learning to ride a bike, but I don’t think that was nearly as interesting as what I discussed above. The point is that we all do things at our own pace and get to the same spot eventually (well, depending on certain other factors and choices we make in life).
You know what they say? “Slow and steady wins the race.” Let’s hear it for all of us late-bloomers!