Speaking from hypothetical experience here, of course, it’s pretty easy to spend your 20s in a spiral of ennui and angst over your lack of life direction.

And even more hypothetically, that spiral might force you to do weird things, like cry while thinking about how you’re the plastic bag drifting through the wind in Katy Perry’s Firework.

But when 2012 pop hits can’t pull you through, it helps to remember that for every Lorde-like child prodigy there’s a late-bloomer like J.K. Rowling, who famously published Harry Potter in her 30s after a pretty severe depressive period.

With that in mind, take solace from these late-risers who prove that there’s always time to kick life goals later on in the game.



There’s a lot of bull online about Harland David Sanders, the man responsible for ruining your bowels with his beautiful secret herbs and spices. But there’s still an #inspo story underneath.

KFC as we know it didn’t exist for most of the Colonel’s life, with franchises only really taking off in the 1960s – when ol’ Colonel was well into his 70s. In his youth, he bounced between jobs and the military before starting to sell chicken at age 40 from his home next to the service station he worked at.

Eventually, that became a store, and then a fleet of franchises. The ol’ colonel hustled well into his 60s, often sleeping in his van while driving around America, trying to convince restaurants to become franchises. With the ground work done, he sold the company in 1964 but remained its face.

According to a New Yorker profile from 1970, Harland spent most of his retirement travelling to stores and became well known for his “withering gravy critiques”. If that isn’t the dream, I don’t know what is.



Whether or not you know his name, we all owe great amounts of gratitude to Momofuku Ando,the inventor of instant ramen noodles. When Momofuku made the life-altering food in 1958, he was 48 and virtually penniless, after the crediting company he was chair of went bankrupt.

With a bit of spare time and a desire to make cheap, accessible food, Momofuku tinkered to balance flavour with speed. The trick? He pre-cooked then dried the noodles, timing it so the outer part was cooked but the inside remained crunchy, so they wouldn’t become too soggy when it’s time to home-brew.

It’s magic, pure and simple. And one that’s saved us all on days where both panty and wallet were empty, not to mention the late-nights you arrived home and needed something to soak up the booze.


5 Late-Life Success Stories To Prove You Don’t Have To Hustle Thru Yr 20s

(Image credit: Francois Durand/Getty Images)

After giving up studying fashion in her 20s, Vivienne Westwood became a primary school teacher. She married and made jewellery on the side to sell at Portobello Markets in London.

Then she met Malcolm McLaren, the manager of The Sex Pistols. She dumped her husband, started designing the band’s clothes and opened a London store with Malcolm in her 30s. While Vivienne undoubtably shaped the landscape of punk fashion, it wasn’t until the 1980s that she created some of her most influential pieces like the mini-crini. Then, rightfully, the world paid attention.

The lesson here? Dump your boring boyfriend who doesn’t inspire you.


5 Late-Life Success Stories To Prove You Don’t Have To Hustle Thru Yr 20s

Fauja Singh trains ahead of The Edinburgh Marathon, 2011. Image credit: (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Most sports stars are poached from their lives at a young age, their talent realised and fostered to create super-humans capable of astonishing, record-breaking feats. Then there’s Fauja Singh, a competitive runner who started his professional career at 88.

Fauja couldn’t walk until he was five, and struggled physically as a child. As an adult, he ran as an amateur, but gave it up for fifty-odd years before the deaths of his wife and son in the early 1990s shook his whole understanding of life.

“I have lived in India all my life, but my world seemed to come to crashing halt when my son was killed in a road accident. Everything had finished for me. I felt I couldn’t live any more. But destiny had other plans and I went to England”, he told SBS Punjabi last year. 

“I had never even run in India, leave alone compete in a marathon. But it was God’s will that I should come to London and get involved in running marathons. I’ve lived here for 22 years now and have been very blessed to enjoy a great lifestyle.”

He holds a ridiculous amount of world records, and at age 100 broke 8 in one day. Currently 106, he’s still racing.

He’s also modelled for Adidas in 2004, replacing David Beckham as the campaign frontman. So there’s still hope we could all be models yet.



Julia Child, author of The Art Of French Cooking and pretty much most iconic cookbooks, could not cook until she was 40.

If you’ve seen Julie & Julia, you’re probably familiar with the story: after working for the navy during WWII, Julia moved to Paris with her food-loving husband, who introduced her to Parisian cuisine. With almost no knowledge (she didn’t even know what a shallot was), Julia awakened a passion she’d never had: the rest, of course, is both history and an award vehicle for Meryl Streep. Maybe one day you’ll find a passion you never knew existed.

We’re all about bettering ourselves and moving forward in our careers and lives in 2K18. Feeling the momentum? With more than 1,200 TAFE NSW courses on offer – from degrees to certificates, from short-term to online courses – it’s never too late to switch things up. Go for it!

Image credit: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

5 Late-Life Success Stories To Prove You Don’t Have To Hustle Thru Yr 20s