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It’s more than okay to be a late bloomer

You may not recognize this woman.

Her name is Sue Freeman. But you can call her DJ Sue, the 63-year-old DJ taking Australia by storm.

Sue, 63, used to be a bookkeeper. Now on Saturday nights, and some weeknights, DJ Sue plays at venues across Canberra - helping hundreds get their groove on every time.

There are tales of late bloomers, large and small.

Harland Sanders was six when his father died.

He became a school dropout, soldier, steamboat pilot, insurance salesman and railroad fireman. In 1930, Harland opened a gas station with a small lunchroom. Customers seemed to love his food, so in 1937 he built a 142-seat cafe with a flagship dish: fried chicken. He became known for his “secret recipe,” white suit, tie, and goatee.

Harland had nothing to lose at age 64, he traversed North America striking franchise deals with restaurants that paid him a nickel for every chicken sold.

At age 74, he sold his 600-franchise operation for $2 million. What is this franchise that spun out of a gas station backdoor lunchroom? KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Harland is the famous Colonel Sanders.

Colonel Sanders is perhaps the most famous late bloomer, heralded among others for finding their groove later on in life - far beyond the typical age that kids are choosing college degrees and practicing for job interviews, supposedly in their prime.

Being a late bloomer doesn’t have to happen by chance. People edging closer to retirement have often done everything right— good grades, worked hard, and made an honest living. But is this as good as it gets?

Rich Karlgaard, author of Late Bloomers, talks about our culture’s obsession with early achievement. Karlgaard believes that this obsession dissuades us from pursuing our passions, especially later in life. Instead of dabbling in a broader range of hobbies and interests, studying across disciplines, and slowing down in major decisions. Instead we race to achieve specialization, sometimes in the wrong place.

Retirement can be a chance to revisit the sparks of interest that once made your eyes light up, to learn about the curiosities that your mind wandered to in a daydream.

And who knows, maybe you’ve been sitting on a KFC (or DJ Sue)-scale idea or talent all along.


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