Late Bloomer

“It doesn’t matter when you bloom, it matters that you do”. This is a lyric in the song “Late Bloomer” by The Secret Sisters.

Isn’t it powerful? Sweet, comforting, encouraging?

I can relate to the message of this song. I feel that in a lot of ways, I am a “late bloomer”. Especially considering how long it took me to obtain my license as a social worker.

I was 40.

As a freshman English major at a state university in the 1980’s, I took an elective class entitled “Social Welfare”. Within probably a couple of months, I changed my major to Social Work. The idea of getting out there in the world and helping people in a tangible way really appealed to me. Learning more about the injustices in the world made me want to get out there and make a difference in struggling people’s lives. To fight for the rights of the disadvantaged.

I was going to be a Social Worker.

Fast forward about 20 years. I hadn’t achieved that goal yet. Upon graduating with my B.S. in Social Work, I found myself in great need of employment, as Hubs was still in school and only able to work part time. I was unable to find a job in Social Work in our college town, so I found myself working full time as a customer service rep.

Then came my first pregnancy, a short stint in Lubbock, Texas so Hubs could attend grad school, and then a very unexpected second pregnancy. We moved on back to Minnesota at that point so we could be closer to family while we navigated our journey to becoming a family of four.

Life for about the next eight years was a blur of Hubs working rotating shifts forecasting the weather and us doing our best to keep our kids fed, healthy, and safe. The only ambition I had was to earn money to ensure we could maintain a decent standard of living. My dream of becoming a social worker was put on the back burner and I fell into a couple more customer service jobs.

But the dream never really died. After being relocated to Wisconsin for a new job for Hubs, I was hired as a case manager for a non-profit which served adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Finally I had an opportunity to work in the field that meant something to me. I made a lot of great friends and gained valuable experience in the eight years I worked there. The dream truly re-kindled itself during a staffing I attended for one of my clients with their social worker. I had an epiphany: there was nothing this social worker had over me other than a license.

So right around my 40th birthday, I drove to a nearby city and took and passed the test. I had never felt so confident about myself or more in charge of my future than I did in that moment.

I went on to have a great eight years working as a certified Social Worker at a managed care organization, serving adults with physical and intellectual disabilities as well as those with mental health diagnoses. I found myself using the skills and experience I gained in my customer service jobs as well as my case manager job.

I may not be working as a social worker any longer, but I’m blessed to be in a position where I’m connecting people in need to the food they and their families require to thrive, as a food pantry coordinator.

Who else out there identifies as a late bloomer? I’d absolutely love to hear your stories in the comments.

And of course, I’m sharing the song. The video is beyond precious.

*****Header image courtesy of https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/do-good-things-come-to-late-bloomers/

8 thoughts on “Late Bloomer”

  1. I love your story! And that Song, oh my Gosh, beautiful! I’m also a late bloomer (still trying to Bloom?). I’m from a very large family in northern MN. When I was a kid, I saw so much suffering around me, I was so desperate to change the world. Like you, I wanted to help in tangible ways. Being a big sister, I knew kids were brilliant. I wanted to teach all children to take better care of themselves, and protect them from making some of the horrible mistakes of the past generations. But I had no idea how to do that. I worked in our local factories right out of high school (in the mid-80’s), made relationship mistakes, and became a single mother. With the birth of my beautiful baby boy, I became super determined to get to college and change the world for him. As a ‘non-traditional student’ (that’s what they called us if we were over 23 years old and going to college), I received my A.A. at our local college. Then I transferred and received a B.S. in Elementary Education, with minors in Early Childhood Education, Psychology, and Library Media. I have been a substitute teacher in Fargo/Moorhead, a preschool/childcare teacher, a School Crisis Interventionist, a classroom paraprofessional, and a library assistant. I’ve loved so many people and tried so hard, but it never feels like enough. Or maybe I’m not doing it right? And Still, even now as a grandma with health issues, I’m so driven to make the world better for my gorgeous grandbabies. Hence, my rambling-pour-my-heart-out blog. It just seems like things should be so much better, especially for our babies and grandbabies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww…thank you so much for your lovely comments. Good for you, pushing yourself as a single mom to get that degree and pursue a meaningful career. Curious where you’re from, since I was born and raised in Two Harbors. Stay safe and warm up there!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awesome! I don’t think I’ve heard of Skime before. It’s amazing how much more I appreciate the beauty of where I grew up. Love going back there every summer.

        Like

  2. I would like to think I continue to bloom in different ways. I graduated at 23 with a degree I didn’t use and two small kids at home. I went back to school for a teaching certification in my late 20s and taught for 20 years and then went back to school at 50 for my masters. I think I’ll teach high school for 4 more years, draw my retirement, and then teach college. I’m keeping my options open.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a good plan! Before I wanted to be a social worker, I wanted to be an English teacher. I had a couple of really good ones in high school who really inspired me. Thanks for your comments, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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