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5 People Who Didn't Start Their "Big" Career Until Later in Life

By Jan Bolder - May 22, 2014

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Some of us are late bloomers and take a little bit more time to figure out what we really want to do in life. Our teen and early adult years were a time when we were just starting to figure out who we were, never mind what would make us satisfied for the next five decades. It may not happen all the time but it does often enough that we should make note of it, and here are X people you may not have known of who started their big career a little bit later than most.

Vivienne Westwood

She's one of the world's best-known fashion designers, but that's a title she didn't even start earning until she had her first catwalk show when she was 41. It was a collaboration with musician and artist Malcolm McLaren, with a theme of "Pirates". Because of this career departure, Westwood finally realized she was meant to work in fashion and never looked back. And the rest, as we know it, is history.

Charles Darwin

Darwin had a tough time getting the world to accept his findings because he was essentially telling the most important people around they were wrong about their deepest beliefs, ideas and convictions. There are still some people today who dispute Darwin's findings, but that's not what this particular article is about. Instead, we want to point out that Darwin didn't publish his theory of evolution until the ripe age of 50.

Raymond Chandler

This famous author got his start working in the oil fields and managed to work his way up to the position of executive an oil company. It seemed as though he was set for life, needing to do nothing more than keeping giving an "A" effort. That is, of course, until the Great Depression hit and put millions of Americans out of work. Chandler was no different — well, he was different, because instead of sitting around feeling sorry for himself, he took up a career as a writer and published his first professional work at the age of 44, and first novel (featuring the now-famous Philip Marlowe) at the age of 51.

Julia Child

She's one of the most famous chefs that ever lived, due to equal parts of her skill and flamboyant personality. But the road she took was a long one because when she entered Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in her late 30s, she only knew a smattering of French words and even fewer cooking tricks. In fact, her "skills" were so basic, she didn't even know what a shallot was. It was her fascination with French culture and a steely determination to learn everything that led to Child becoming the success she was, and why she was okay with releasing her first cookbook when she was almost 50.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

We're all familiar with The Little House on the Prairie books, one of the most successful literary series that's been published to date. The writing sharply gets at the truths about prairie living, yet does it in such a way that it still feels like we're simply and gently listening in on a long conversation between family members. It took a bit of time for Wilder to actually get started on writing, as she didn't publish the first Little House book until she was a senior citizen — age 65.

Sometimes, it just takes a bit of life living and getting to know who you are before you can hit on that one big thing that really defines you. And as the above people have shown, it's more than okay to wait a bit of time before starting your "big" career.