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11 People Who Found Their Passion Later in Life

It's never too late to be who you want to be.

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Life can be frustrating as you try to figure out what you want to do with it. As I watch television or read a Buzzfeed article I hear about these individuals doing such incredible things that they are so passionate about and I think - why can't that be me? Why can't I figure out my passion and be successful in life right at this very moment?!

Well here's some news that might cheer you up – you're not alone. Whether you know your passion and are trying to make it your career, stuck in a career path you are not satisfied with, or simply can't figure out where to even begin defining what you are passionate about; so many people have been in that exact same place and stumbled upon a way to change their life. So here are some stories that may help inspire you...

Tina Fey – Actress, Comedian, Writer, Producer

In her early 20’s Tina Fey was taking night classes at Second City in Chicago. Her day job? Working the front desk at the YMCA. It wasn’t until 1997 – when Tina was 27 – that she was approached by SNL to become a writer for the show. She then decided to move to New York City and has led a very successful career since.

Andrea Bocelli – Italian Classical Tenor, Recording Artist, Singer-Songwriter

Andrea Bocelli grew up as a lover of music. Initially after finishing secondary school he attended the University of Pisa to study law. In the evenings he would play piano at local bars to earn money for voice lessons in his spare time. After graduation he spent a year as a lawyer. It wasn’t until 1992 – when Andrea was 34 – that he was discovered as a musician and started pursuing a career in the industry.

J.K. Rowling – Novelist

J.K. Rowling graduated with a BA in French and Classics from the University of Exeter in 1986. After graduation she worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International in London and then in Manchester at the Chamber of Commerce. In 1990 she relocated to Portugal to teach English. It was in 1990 prior to moving to Portugal that the idea for Harry Potter was sparked. She finished the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995. After many rejections, the book was finally published in 1997. By 1998 – when J.K. Rowling was 33 – Scholastic bought the rights to publish the book and the magic has flourished since then.

Samuel L. Jackson – Actor, Film Producer

Samuel L. Jackson initially attended Morehouse College in Atlanta to pursue a degree in marine biology. At University he found a passion for acting and switched his degree. During this time he became very involved with the black-power movement and took part in protests and unfortunately was expelled. He worked as a social worker for two years until returning to Morehouse College to finish his acting degree by 1972. After graduation he moved to New York City and took on small roles in movies, Off-Broadway shows and opportunities with the Black Image Theatre Company. His breakout role didn’t arrive until 1994 – when Samuel was 45 – for his role in ‘Pulp Fiction’.

Mary Kay Ash – Entrepreneur

All her life Mary Kay Ash had a knack for sales. She became a salesperson for Stanley Home Products in 1939 and was then hired off to another company in 1952. She spent over a decade at World Gifts until she eventually quit in frustration of men always being paid more than her. By 1963 – when Mary Kay was 45 – she invested $5,000 into creating her own cosmetics company known today as Mary Kay.

Harrison Ford – Actor, Film Producer

Chris Pizzello / AP / Via

Initially interested in radio broadcasting during his senior year of high school, Harrison Ford attended University at Ripon College in Wisconsin. Though he did not obtain his degree, he did take an acting class his senior year of University which sparked his interest to shift to acting. In 1964 he left town and headed out to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He achieved a few minor roles but not nearly enough to support him and his family. He found himself turning to carpentry and building a reputation as being the ‘carpenter for the stars’ while also still acting in his spare time. Thanks to his minor role in ‘American Graffiti’, George Lucas spotted Harrison working on a carpentry project and asked him to read for the role of Hans Solo for his new film project – ‘Star Wars’. Harrison won the role in 1975 - at age 33 – and the force has been with him ever since.

Eva Longoria – Actress, Activist

Eva Longoria initially pursued a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University – Kingsville. While in University she would perform in college plays as a hobby. In 1998 she won the title of Miss Corpus Christi, USA and headed to Los Angeles for the opportunity to partake in a talent competition right after graduation. She ultimately decided to stay in Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and got her big break in 2001 – when she was 26 – in ‘The Young and the Restless’. With her love for education still following her during her years as an actress, in 2010 she decided to return to school and in 2013 she received her Master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State, Northridge.

John Cho – Actor, Musician

Studying English at the University of California, Berkeley, John Cho went on to teach high school English while volunteering at a Korean Youth Center and working at the East West Players theater in Los Angeles in 1996. John realized his passion for acting and quit teaching in 1997 to pursue his career. With some recognition gained in 1999 from his role in ‘American Pie’, his career launched after his role in ‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” in 2004 – when John was 32 – along with future Harold and Kumar films plus his role in ‘Star Trek’ in 2009.

Alan Rickman – Actor, Director

Being skilled at calligraphy and watercolor painting, Alan Rickman studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. Though he enjoyed acting, he considered a career in graphic design to be more stable thus opening up his own business with friends after graduation. After a few years in business, he decided to quit and attend school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in his early 30’s. He worked as a dresser for other actors to help get him through school. After graduation he worked his way around various repertory and experimental theater groups in Britain until his television debut in ‘The Barchester Chronicles’ in 1982 – when Alan was 36. In 1987 Alan was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The following year – when Alan was 42 – he landed a role as Hans Gruber in ‘Die Hard’ thus launching his career to the status it has reached today.

Vera Wang – Fashion Designer

At a young age Vera Wang had her eyes on becoming an Olympic figure skater. After failing to make it into the 1968 Winter Olympics she decided to go to school for fashion while working at a Yves Saint Lawrence boutique in New York. By chance she met one of the fashion directors of Vogue who suggested Vera look them up after graduation. So after graduation Vera gave them a call and got a job as a temporary assistant. For fifteen years she worked her way up the ladder but ended up leaving once she was turned down for the editor-in-chief job. Taking her talents to Ralph Lauren in 1987, she worked as a design director. Two years later when she was preparing for her wedding she felt dissatisfied with the wedding dress choices available to her. This frustration fueled her passion to open her own bridal boutique in 1990 – when Vera was 41. Since then she has expanded her boutique internationally, introduced fragrances, home collections, every-day wear, men’s tuxedos and more.

Michael Fitzpatrick – Singer-Songwriter

For many years Michael Fitzpatrick worked as a sound engineer for producer Mickey Petralia. In his spare time he would write jingles for advertisements to further develop his songwriting skills. He had dreamed of becoming a well-known songwriter and had been in a few bands early on in life. At the age of 32 he took his first piano lesson to help strengthen his music skills. It wasn’t until 2008 – at the age of 38 - when he by chance got his hands on an organ he bought for $50 that inspired him to write “Breakin’ the Chains of Love”. Feeling excited about his newly found sound he reached out to his friend James King and gathered others to create a band now known as Fitz and the Tantrums.

So when life gives you lemons, make some darn good lemonade and enjoy it because what's the rush? Enjoy life, keep learning and remember – you'll figure life out soon so just relax, stay curious, and be determined to keep moving forward..

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