Even though no one cares about your quarter-life crisis, that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to feel pressure to succeed; it means that it’s a part of growing up, and the idea of having to morph into an adult is scary. It’s like Animorphs but without the sweet animal-morphing payoff. Although the chances of being trapped in a hawk’s body are significantly reduced.
So to ease your mind about tip-toeing into your late 20s and feeling the weight of 30 and trying to stave off that that Glenn Close sobbing in the shower Big Chill moment, here are some famous figures who didn’t find great success until after 30. And for those of you who are happily and comfortably 30 and beyond, good for you (non sarcasm) and look out your window for your fucking parade (total sarcasm.)
Oprah Winfrey was 32 when The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered.
Sylvester Stallone started his career starring in a pornographic film. “It was either do that movie or rob someone,” he said, “because I was at the very end of my rope.” He didn’t achieve major success until he was 30, with Rocky.
Dick Van Dyke was 36 when he made his film debut.
J.K Rowling was 32 when the first Harry Potter book was published, after being rejected by 12 publishers.
At 26, Gene Hackman was voted “least likely to succeed” in his acting class. It took him 11 years to get his first film role after which he succeeded the fuck out of everyone.
Also voted least likely to succeed? Dustin Hoffman. (Man, that class was full of assholes.) At age 30 he played the 20-year-old Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, his first movie role with more than 5 minutes of screen time, and was nominated for an Oscar.
Raymond Chandler was 44 when he decided to become a writer after working in the oil industry.
Seven years into Harrison Ford’s career he was still taking uncredited roles and bit parts. He was ready to give up and become a full-time carpenter when he met George Lucas. At 31, he got his first major film role in American Graffiti. Four years later he was Han Solo.
Leonard Cohen started his music career at 33.
Edward D. Wood Jr. didn’t make what is now known as the worst film of all time (Plan 9 from Outer Space) until he was 35. He is now a beloved cult figure. Something to remember: success is subjective, and all in how you define it.
Lucille Ball was 38 when I Love Lucy premiered.
Robin Thicke was 36 when he reached his first #1 hit on the Billboard charts, with a song The Daily Beast described as, “kind of rapey.” Wow! Just think what YOU can accomplish!
The difference between success and failure is the ability to combat laziness and disappointment. It may take you a few years, but if you keep working hard, don’t stop, and aren’t an asshole, you’ll succeed. And remember: no one person can use up all the success in the world. There is enough success for everyone.