For two straight weeks leading up to Aaron’s return from deployment, I had a sore throat, fever, and congestion that made me sound like Adele with nodes.
By the way, did you know Adele had nodes when she recorded “Someone Like You”? Fun fact. Also, she is only one month older than me. To be clear, that means Adele is a mere 27 years old. I’m going to let you sit on that for a second.
Aaaand we’re back. I hope you don’t feel too horrible about yourself after that time of reflection. If it’s any solace, J.K. Rowling didn’t finish the first Harry Potter book until she was 32. Not that that’s old or anything, but at least it gives me five more years to keep some dreams alive.
When we’re sick, often times all we do is watch early 2000s rom coms (in the spirit of Adele, I recently watched Someone Like You with Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd) and consume an entire box of macaroni and cheese. While that’s nothing to be ashamed of, it may make you feel like a worthless slob.
It’s even easier to feel like a failure when you veg out for 13 hours straight and you’re not sick. Yes, you probably should evaluate a few things in your life, but don’t beat yourself up. We’re all human. I’m a big believer in working hard to achieve greatness (read THIS for some inspiration), but if you experience a setback in the form of lethargy, don’t let it keep you down.
That’s why, in my feverish and lazy stupor, I decided to compile 10 examples of super accomplished people who did not reach major success until their 30s. Again, 30s is still really young, but at least these people’s career paths won’t make you feel quite as inadequate as the likes of Taylor Swift or Gabby Douglas, both of whom hadn’t even hit puberty at the time of their breakthroughs.
1. J.K. Rowling
Excuse me for recycling this example that I already highlighted in the opening paragraph(s), but lil’ ole Jo was literally in poverty during her 20s and is now one of the richest women in the world. She deserves to be mentioned twice. She began writing the first Harry Potter book when she was 25, but didn’t finish it for SEVEN YEARS. Seven. (Age 32.) She definitely vegged on the couch a few times. After that, she really stepped up her game, because in the seven years following that first book getting published, she wrote and published the next four books in the series and became the most famous author of our generation. Oh, and a multi-millionnaire. And now, she’s a billionaire. So tell me, where do you see yourself in seven years?
2. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep didn’t have her first lead role in a film until she was 31 years old. She certainly started making a name for herself in the entertainment industry before becoming a true leading lady in the 80s, but she played second fiddle to other actors/actresses until much later in life than the average starlet. Now, she’s…well, she’s Meryl Streep.
3. Jeff Bezos
So, there’s this website called Amazon and it’s kind of a big deal. Back when people read books, Jeff Bezos wrote up a business plan to sell them on this new thing called “online” while he was driving across the country. You know, just some pre-Sirius XM road trip entertainment. What started in his garage during his 30th year of life is now Amazon as we know it today. Or as I know it, The Hand That Feeds My Husband’s Shopping Addiction. #dontdrinkandPrime. Mr. Bezos was also one of the first people to invest in Google back when he was 34 years old, which was a pretty decent life choice.
4. Oprah Winfrey
The first national broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired in 1986, when Oprah was 32 years old. Before then, she was scrambling to be noticed in the cutthroat world of journalism and occasionally binge-eating like the rest of us (from what I have gathered from her interviews). You probably already know this, but since 1986, Oprah has become the most successful television host in history, and the first-ever black woman billionaire.
5. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl’s first position of power was as the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations for Google in 2001, when she was 32 years old. Then, in 2007, at age 38, Sandberg was approached by a toddler who goes by the name of Mark Zuckerberg (every heard of him?) at a Christmas Party. (Note to self: Go to more parties.) He brought her on as the COO of Facebook, and by 2012, Sheryl was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine. Oh, and then she published her bestselling book, Lean In, which made her a household name at the age of 44. See? You’re doing just fine.
6. Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters didn’t appear onscreen until her mid-thirties, when she became the weather girl on The Today Show, and slowly started moving up the ranks. She was not named co-host until she was 45 years old. Then came all of her famous interviews with kings, presidents, movie legends, and most notably, the Kardashians. Anyone still laughing at that time she openly told them that they have no talent? Barbara ftw!
7. Reed Hastings
Reed Hastings is the reason we’re going to have another baby boom, thanks to the era of “Netflix and Chill.” Prior to founding Netflix when he was 37 years old, Reed started a different company called Pure Software when he was 31. He tried to fire himself twice from being CEO of that company, which is pretty hilarious and sounds like something I might do on a bad day with Generation grannY. The point is to say that he eventually pulled himself together and probably gets a free lifetime subscription to Netflix, which is certainly success in my eyes.
8. Howard Schultz
I’m drinking a cup of Starbucks chai tea as I type this, all thanks to Mr. Schultz and the addictive qualities of caffeine. Schultz first started working for Starbucks when he was 29…but don’t be fooled. That was not the beginning of his success. No, Starbucks did not begin its climb to glory until six years later, when Shultz bought the company at the age of 35 in 1988. That was a great year, also because it was the year I was born. You’re welcome, world! In his early 30s, Howard quit working for Starbucks, begged a ton of investors for money, started his own coffee chain, then pulled the ultimate power move by buying the Bucks from his former bosses, who [unwisely] thought Peet’s Coffee & Tea was a better use of their time (a.k.a. Starbucks’ red-headed stepchild). Howard adopted the Starbucks name for his coffee chain, and voila! Pumpkin Spice Lattes for all!
9. Morgan Freeman
Freeman didn’t debut on Broadway until he was 31, and didn’t land his first movie role until he was 34. And even with those credits, his career didn’t truly take off until his 40s. How would we know what God will probably sound like if not for Morgan Freeman?? Ironically, only God himself knew what Morgan’s future would hold when he was in his 20s.
10. Kristen Wiig
Turns out that by the ripe old age of 29, Tina Fey was already the head writer of SNL and Amy Poehler had already starred in her own TV show for three years. Those research discoveries were not great for my pride, but thank God for Kristen Wiig. Kristen is not only one of the most beloved cast members in SNL history, but has arguably transferred her comedic roots onto the big screen more successfully than some of her more famous cohorts. Bridesmaids, anyone? She worked for a sketch comedy troupe until 2005, when her manager suggested she send an audition video to Saturday Night Live. Good thinking, Manager. At the age of 32, Kristen made her debut on SNL, which means that until that year, she had to explain to her family over Thanksgiving dinner that she was a 30-year-old woman “practicing improv” for a living. When I think about it that way, I feel way better for telling my father that I quit my job to start blogging.
We’ve got this, kids!! It’s never too late!