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4 Women Who Found Success Later in Life

4 Women Who Found Success Later in Life

By Madison Feller

Looking around, it's easy to think it's necessary to have your career figured out right now. Lists like the 30 Under 30 and tales of successful, young entrepreneurs (I'm looking at you, Man Repeller) can leave us with the overwhelming feeling that there’s a ticking clock when it comes to our success.

But not everyone’s career starts out early, or easy, and that’s perfectly okay. Here are four women who show us that sometimes success just gets better with age.

1. J. K. Rowling
It's hard not to be enchanted by Rowling's Cinderella story. Especially the part where instead of prince charming saving her, it was a widely acclaimed book series that she penned all by herself. In her late twenties, Rowling was a single mother, living on welfare and writing in her spare time. It wasn’t until she was 30, and had a few rejection letters under her belt, that the first Harry Potter book was released and Rowling's rise to the literary top began. Oh, and did we mention that it’s her 49th birthday today?

2. Julia Child
It might be hard to believe, but internationally-known chef and author Julia Child wasn’t even interested in cooking until her 30s. After growing up in California, she went to school with dreams of being a writer and then later moved to Paris, where she enrolled in culinary school at the age of 36. It wasn't until her early 50s that she published her revolutionary cookbook and starred in her own cooking show, "The French Chef." She then went on to receive France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, as well as (what I would call) Hollywood’s highest honor when Meryl Streep portrayed her in "Julie and Julia" in 2009.

3. Kathryn Bigelow
Long before Kathryn Bigelow became the first women to win the Academy Award for directing, she was living in a bank vault in New York City and studying to be a painter. Bigelow didn't venture into filmmaking until her 30s, when she made her first feature "The Loveless," and didn't win her Oscar until her late 50s. She was later named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People at 58, proving that with years of hard work comes unmatched success.

4. Diana Nyad
If there’s anyone who encompasses the phrase "never give up," it's Diana Nyad. An accomplished swimmer, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage, all at age 64. Her fifth attempt at the 100-mile swim took almost 53 hours, but Nyad made it through, arriving safely on the shores of Florida and instantly becoming the ultimate #GirlBoss.

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Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images