If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life, it’s that everyone is on their own unique path.
What works for one person might not necessarily work for you and vice versa.
So it’s important to go at your own pace and, if you don’t figure out what you really love until you’re 50-years-old, then so be it!
How did you discover your passion later in life?
AskReddit users shared their stories.
1. Time for a change.
“33 year old career bartender. I work in higher end cocktail bars and have been in this industry since I started bar backing when I was 17.
The pandemic REALLY fried me out so I said screw it, and started to pursue something I’ve always wanted to become but was always scared to take the jump into… being a Barber!
I’ve cut my friends and family hair for years and I’ve always loved it. Currently in schooling for it now.”
2. Go see what’s out there.
The world is an awesome place, open Google maps and look for the nearest green open area to you and get out and walk. I rarely plan anything just pick an area and go there and explore. Being outdoors and walking until tired does wonders for my mental health.
I live in the north of England and I recently did the Yorkshire 3 peaks walk and it was fantastic. I am planning to do more mountains around the UK and Europe, it’s just so great ascending and reaching the views makes you appreciate the world.”
“I’m 35 and have recently been diagnosed with PTSD and BPD.
I needed a hobby that is hard but cheapish and mentally demanding for when I have bad times or days. I picked up skateboarding and it is better than any pill or therapist. Even when I fall it’s a rush and takes my mind off of EVERYTHING except skateboarding.
It’s become an obsession but for once not one that involves drugs or alcohol so I’m not bothered by it being an obsession. I haven’t been to a skate park yet because even thinking about it makes me feel sick.
I’m getting old and feel strange about going especially as a beginner. I may not be great or even good but I feel at peace cruising or trying to learn a trick.”
4. Your own path.
“For me it was a strange progression in life (I am 56 now).
Growing up my mother was very into gardening, growing food, composting and all (grew up at a farm/farming village in Germany). As a youngster I thought it was just her hobby, meh. I went into computers (had my first pc at my apartment in 1994) and graphic design. That was still lucrative then. Then went into publishing on top of that. A local newspaper.. (doom music applies here)
Eventually I gave up the publishing, had to really. Started job hunting and had several opportunities but the one I chose was working at a greenhouse/garden center. Pay was just okay but I found happiness.
Left there two years ago to start my own small business doing specialized landscaping (NO LAWN MOWING) as in I pull weeds, plant new perennials and consult and this is mostly for seniors and the disabled who can no longer care for their gardens.
The amazing people I have met, the joy they feel, the stories they tell.. I’m more than good with this, even if my back hurts. And I bring them homemade soup, which is my other passion, in the off-season.”
“So I’m 37 and just now figuring out what my path is. Advocacy. I’m a natural helper, but helping other people find and use their voice to get what they need and want in life is the best!
I primarily work with young adults with developmental disabilities, assisting them in pursuing as much independence in their life as possible. Especially as they prepare to move out of the family home into their own. There’s something so fulfilling about helping facilitate that.
We also made the leap from a McMansion in the suburbs to a ramshackle farm in the middle of nowhere. And THAT was the key to completely changing my perspective on life, work, parenting, etc.”
“I used to be a classical musician, and I thought it was my passion. I told everybody it was, but I got so burned out.
I eventually switched careers into programming, but I still wasn’t passionate about that.
I eventually realized that what I’m passionate about is my family, and this career allows me to be more focused on that.”
7. The flower business.
“Two years ago I stumbled upon a sales job at a floral shop and what I thought was gonna be another random job until I found a better one turned out to be something I love!
Even though I was just sales, I always wondered around the designer area and well I’m learning to be a floral designer now! I’m so lucky to have great coworkers and that the new head designer is super nice and will teach me . The prior head designer was rather mean and kinda scared me the few times I tried to even venture out.
After Two years of sales (and a new head designer) I will finally have someone to formally teach me, I hope to own my own shop someday!”
8. It’s good for you.
“In my twenties, I didn’t run. Like, ever – not even 10 yards for a bus.
But I started signing up for crazy events – like marathons, swims, long cycling events, triathlons – and working out a way to get round without dying! I’ve got an Ironman tri coming up in 6 months and I’m incredibly scared and excited.
Now I’ve completed dozens of events and genuinely like just getting on my bike or going for a run. It’s tough to find time with a job and a young family, but it really clears my head.”
“Late 20s, I watched some videos about being in the bush with an axe, and other vids on building your own furniture, that kind of hands on stuff.
It suddenly dawned on me that while I had no handy bone in my body (so far!), I was actually financially able to get all the tools and materials I needed to start doing this stuff.
I gotta say, no matter how stimulating the latest movie or computer game is, it can’t quite beat chopping kindling in a forest, whittling out a wooden spoon, or making your own coffee table.”
10. Dirty dancing.
“I was nearly 40 when I began to learn to tango.
For years it was just a fun hobby, but eventually transitioned into a passion, and only its absence in the past year has made me realize what an important part of my life it’s become.
Thinking about how my life would have been different had I begun 20 years earlier makes me long for a life that might have been.”
11. Let it flow.
“I drift through hobbies and passions far too quickly before moving onto the next. It’s both great and a little sad because I feel like I never become “great” at anything.
This year, in my early 30s I wrote a novel in ~6 weeks and I’m in the process of getting it published. I’m a scientist who has never written (fiction) before, but the story just flowed and I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback.”
“I grew up always knowing I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Went to undergrad at a school know for their vet school with an intense pre-veterinarian program. I didn’t enjoy the course work and struggled hard. I took an archaeology course for a humanities credit and fell in love but knew I wouldn’t have the support of my family if I changed majors (and I was unfortunately very financially dependent on them and they worked hard to keep it that way).
I graduated and didn’t get into vet school so I worked in animal research and some veterinary clinics and eventually ended up pursuing and obtaining a masters in toxicology (animal research focused).
I applied to vet school again a few years later and got in. I ended up dropping out 3 months in because I h**ed it so much. I literally got up in the middle of a midterm exam (radiology ftw) and walked out and never looked back.
I took about a month off to re-examine my life and discuss with my partner what to do next. I was 30 with a 1 year old and felt like my best years were behind me. I ended up looking up that archaeology professor I had in undergrad and saw she was doing a field school in public archaeology.
I reached out to her and she let me apply for one of the graduate level spots despite it being a month past the deadline. She accepted me and then I proceeded to have one of the best summers of my life.
A year later I was accepted into a MA in public archaeology program and in two weeks I will be flying out to Ireland to dig up a medieval cemetery. I turn 33 this summer and for the first time ever, I feel happy and excited about life.
I am finally settled and know that even if my work is seasonal or part-time, that I enjoy what I am pursuing and that I am lucky to have the support of my partner and child. I feel like I won the lottery.
Life is short and while it is nice to have money, it is also nice to not wake up every morning and dread going to work or cry yourself to sleep while you study.”
Did you discover your passion later in life?
If so, tell us all about it in the comments.
We can’t wait to hear from you!