Are You a Late Bloomer?

Ever since I became a parent, which is about three years ago (insert a round of applause here).

No applause?

Okay then, well (insert Mr. Incredible’s “Jealousy” soundtrack then) Hehehehe..

Anyway, I’ve discovered that most parents have the habit of measuring the progress of their offspring against other kids. Maybe it’s just human nature?

Often when parents gather in places like church, school drop-off and pick-up, birthday parties and the likes, you’ll overhear them saying things like, “At what age did your kid start walking?”,What age did she start talking?“, “Can she write her ABC?” and so on. Lord have mercy if their kids started walking before yours, you can see an almost imperceptible smile flash across their face, like they’re thinking, “Yes! I knew my child was special and faster!” but instead they’ll say, “Every child at its own time”. Infact while hearing those words I also imagine their inner god/goddess doing somersaults, dancing wildly and shrieking around like a possesed witch-doctor. Maybe it’s just me.

So my daughter turned one year old recently, and she’s hardly walking yet (see mugshot below). She stands alright, takes 3 steps forward and is back on her hands and knees. But her elder brother started walking at 10 months. By that standard should I assume that her brother is smarter than she is and will progress faster in life than she would? Should we give up on even teaching her how to walk? Should I pay just the brother’s school fees then and abandon her education on account of this? Should I feed her brother with Kelloggs cornflakes and SMA Gold milk and give her just garri and Cowbell?

Of course that’s a whole bunch of crap questions if you ask me. She’s a late bloomer but does that even matter? History is replete with late bloomers who started off late but it didn’t stop their appointment with success and ultimately destiny. From basketballers to movie stars. From globally-acclaimed scientists to world-famous entrepreneurs.

It’s no BIG secret that Pablo Picasso, Tom Cruise and Whoopi Goldberg are dyslexic or otherwise known as ‘slow’ children. So also is Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group, with over 360 companies! Let’s not forget the great Albert Einstein who had to overcome speech difficulties as a child or Thomas Edison whose school teacher called him “addled” otherwise known as “backward” in today’s mordern English.

Oh! That’s not all. Some celebrities you know today started out as late bloomers also. Let’s take Samuel L. Jackson, whose career didn’t kick start until he was 45 years old! Of course he has played minor roles like the armed robber in the blockbuster movie, Coming to America, whose ass was kicked by Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. The role lasted all of 4 minutes only. Also the legendary Harrison Ford’s movie career started at 35, before then he was just a carpenter. Jon Hamm of the mini series “Mad Men” major screen breakthrough came at 42. He had almost given up acting at 36.

When you look through all of these different experiences, you’ll discover that each of them refused to give up. Achieving great success is always like that, a stubborn refusal to give up, silent resolve to continue on a path despite all the short-comings, negative snide comments, fast walking brothers and neighbours and disappointments.

Now your career may be late in blooming, you may not be where your peers are now financially, maritally, socially, mentally, politically, spiritually, physically (insert your own ‘ally’ here) but it doesn’t matter! The past is a poor predictor of the future. So just stay focused on your vision and refuse to give up on yourself. For just as any decent parent will refuse to give up on their daughter’s quest to walk, so also should you refuse to give up on your personal quest to succeed.

In the end, your story becomes even sweeter to the ears, considering all the hardship that you had to go through. You no longer have to find success, you become a success. Keep walking.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “Are You a Late Bloomer?

  1. Yeah, true! We really need to stop this ‘comparing thing’. Every individual has the ability to be a genius in his/her own field. The problem arises when you don’t discover your own field and develop it, rather you envy others who are succeeding in their own area of expertise.
    Not withstanding, the good news is : It’s not too late! Find your own genius, develop it, become a master and then Rule!!

  2. This is indeed, a food for a deeper thought. Too often, knowingly or unknowingly, we compare our successes or achievements with that of our friends, brothers and colleague not with the intent of pushing us up but to condemn our seemingly small attainment.

    I have been a victim of this in times past. But now, I have come to the full realization that I am who I am, I can only be the best of Me, therefore no man’s attainment can me feel lesser than Me. I will continually strive to become who I was destined to at my own pace.

    I’m so inspired by this your post. thank you!

  3. A sigh of relief… This syndrome called “Unhealthy Comparison” is terminal. Ignorance of the uniqueness of individuals will amount to depression.

    I have had my fair share of this deadly habit. I am so glad I broke through this life binding force.

    As always, Uncle Ebuka always tweaks my mind!! Thanks for lending your voice and offering your shoulder!!

    • As always you’re welcome Chiemeka. I think comparison with others is something we kind of pick up by default in our society.

      People are always complaining not based on their unique circumstances but based on their outlook and measuring standards against someone else with a different set of circumstance.

      Peter asked Jesus about his fate when the world comes to an end. Immediately afterwards, he asked Jesus of the fate of another disciple. Jesus told him in summary, “It’s none of your business”

      That should also be our perspective in life, realising that what another person does or owns is really none of our business. At the end of life, you don’t share a grave or stand before God with anyone else other than yourself.

  4. Thank you for this piece. You know some times, we keep comparing ourselves with others and forget the uniqueness of our own self. It will surprise you to know that, that person you are comparing yourself with, might be admiring you for so many things. It’s good when we appreciate God for where we are presently and it will shock us how far he will move . Early bloomer, Late bloomer, we all have different destiny and purpose in life and that can determine how we are formed. Princess Rita is an amazing girl, very strong, smart and full of energy. She is not a late bloomer , i have watched her take steps and cheerfully too.

    • I’m tempted to just agree with you Nonye and avoid the argument on what age kids should start walking by. The right answer is of course “at their own time”. Because just as there’s no right age for a person to get married, there’s simply to set pre-determined age to begin walking. Everyone grows and matures at a different time across all spheres of life. So again I agree with you:)

  5. A beautiful piece dear, very inspiring. Many of us (myself inclusive) are guilty of this comparison syndrome to the extent that we forget who we are and start living the life of another person but I thank God we have someone like you who keeps speaking out and encouraging us to be a better version of ourselves.
    I also liked where u said .. realising that what another person does or owns is really none of our business. At the end of life, you don’t share a grave or stand before God with anyone else other than yourself..

    @Pete, I like the part where u said …I have come to the full realization that I am who I am, I can only be the best of Me, therefore no man’s attainment can me feel lesser than Me. I will continually strive to become who I was destined to at my own pace.

    • Thanks for reading darling. Our focus directs our emotions. If we focus on others we feel discontent and sometimes inadequate. When we focus on God, we feel adequately blessed and can sense abundance in all that we do and who we are.

      Stay focused on Him who never changes nor fails.

  6. Keep Walking.

    And, as I was telling a friend of mine just today, while talking about Nigeria, the words of a wise man. “I may walk slowly, but one thing I do is never walk backwards.”

    Eventually, and only if we persist in walking our path with vision-guided doggedness, we would get where we want.

    But then, I may want a little clarification. If we call someone a “Late Bloomer” would that not mean that we tacitly endorse that there is an agreed time for them to do what they have done ‘late’? And who determines what that ‘agreed time’ should be? ‘Early’ and ‘Late’, afterall, are time-based descriptions. In using them, we, subconsciously or consciously, accept that there is a ‘Just Right’ time.

    Plus… Did I mention that she has a beautiful- really beautiful smile.

    • Thanks bro. I agree with you, there’s nothing true about tagging someone a late bloomer- everyone has their time to develop. An orange tree will blossom much later than the maize plant. Does it make the maize better than the orange?

      I think just as we have different talents. Each of us has a different time to blossom. Thanks for reading bro.

  7. This is an awesome read. The comparison syndrome becomes more worse when you have this uncanny feeling that you are better than others.

    The dullest Hausa boy in my Secondary School made millions about when I was still in the University. That dull lady in the University got a job before you even ever thought of applying for one. That guy you think is poor already have children and you are still a bachelor and then your thoughts starts racing on how you probably are not doing well.

    But our lives are all beautiful in its own way as long as we are doing our best. Daalu Coach

    • Spot on Chibuzor. How can a millionaire feel like a poor man?

      If he’s younger brother is Aliko Dangote. Then he’ll start comparing his wealth against that of Dangote and feel dissatisfied with what he has accomplished. Jealousy, envy, discontent, avarice all stem from comparison. Something I try hard to consciously avoid as it usually ends up with one feeling proud for nothing or bitter for nothing.