“19 Successful People Who Had a Rough Time in their Twenties”

Thank you, Adam Moerder! This helps calm me down about my recent binge of uncertainty.

19 Successful People Who Had A Rough Time In Their Twenties

Don’t panic, twentysomethings. Here’s further proof that life is a marathon, not a sprint. posted on June 20, 2013 at 12:34pm EDT

 

Jon Hamm

At 27, Hamm couldn’t find any work and was dropped by the William Morris Agency. He vowed to quit acting if he couldn’t get his career rolling by 30. Fortunately, he landed a role on the NBC drama Providence at age 29.

Image by Jason Merritt / Getty Images

2. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah bounced around various Baltimore news stations, including one that fired her for getting too emotionally invested in stories. Her demotion to daytime TV proved a blessing in disguise, and by 30 she had the highest-rated talk show in Chicago.

Image by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

3. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford

Struggling to make money acting, Ford supported himself as a carpenter. A chance gig building cabinets for George Lucas led to a small part in American Graffiti and the role of Han Solo.

Image by Ethan Miller / Getty Images

4. Tim Allen

Tim Allen

In his mid-twenties, Allen spent over two years in federal prison for selling cocaine. The experience forced him to turn his life around and revive his stand-up career.

Image by Angela Weiss / Getty Images

5. Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig

Wiig spent her twenties working every odd job imaginable, from selling peaches to babysitting to drawing bodies of plastic surgery patients. SNL finally noticed her work with the Groundlings and hired her at 32.

Image by Jason Merritt / Getty Images

6. Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli

To pay for singing lessons and law school, Bocelli moonlighted as a piano bar performer until he was discovered by Luciano Pavarotti at age 33.

Image by Michael Buckner / Getty Images

7. Ang Lee

Ang Lee

After earning his master of fine arts, Lee spent six years as a stay-at-home husband while his film career stalled. Ashamed, he briefly considered a career in computer science until his wife, the family’s sole earner, urged him to continue pursuing his dream.

Image by Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

8. Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo

To focus on becoming a “serious” writer, the award-winning novelist walked away from a cushy advertising gig and moved into a $60-a-month apartment, where his main expense was paying the phone bill. He published his first novel at 35.

Image by Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images

9. Walt Disney

Walt Disney

At 24, he had Oswaldo the Rabbit, his first successful cartoon character, stolen from him by Universal Studios. At 25, MGM told him no one would ever like Mickey Mouse. At one point in his twenties, Disney was so poor that he resorted to eating dog food.

Image by R. Mitchell / Getty Images

10. Suze Orman

Suze Orman

Orman spent most of her twenties working as a waitress. After an attempt to open her own restaurant bankrupted her, she became interested in finance and pursued a career as a broker.

Image by Leigh Vogel / Getty Images

11. R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey

After a successful college career, Dickey suffered so many arm injuries he couldn’t even turn a doorknob without significant pain. Desperate to stay in the game, he began experimenting with the knuckleball, worked his way back into the major leagues, and won the National League Cy Young Award at age 37.

Image by Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

12. Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis

While trying to jump-start his standup career, Galifianakis spent a large portion of his twenties as a busboy in an upscale Manhattan strip club.

Image by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

13. James Murphy

James Murphy

At 22, the LCD Soundsystem front man turned down a gig writing for Seinfeld. He was in and out of various punk bands for several years before founding DFA Records at 29.

Image by Rachel Murray / Getty Images

14. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone

While shopping Rocky around Hollywood, Stallone was so poor he tearfully sold his dog Butkus for $25. Once Rocky was purchased, he bought the bullmastiff back for $3,000 and even gave the buyer a small part in the film.

Image by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

15. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Although Jobs was a millionaire by 23, he became so disliked at Apple by the end of his twenties that his own company fired him. Jobs credited this devastating setback with helping him enter “one of the most creative periods” of his life.

Image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

16. Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball

During her twenties, Ball was known as the “Queen of the ‘B’s” thanks to her frequent roles in B-movies. Her agent recommended she find a new career, and it wasn’t until 40 that Ball became a household name on I Love Lucy.

Image by Keystone / Getty Images

17. James Dyson

James Dyson

Relying heavily on his wife’s income, Dyson spent the majority of his twenties failing to sell his vacuum cleaner designs to major manufacturers. At 39, he sold his first U.S. patent, allowing him to open his own manufacturing company.

Image by Bruno Vincent / Getty Images

18. Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas

Thomas bounced around several amateur and international hockey leagues before becoming a starter during 2006–2007 season at age 30. In 2011, his Game 7 shutout against Vancouver helped deliver a Stanley Cup to Boston.

Image by Elsa / Getty Images

19. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

By the end of her twenties, Rowling was a divorced, unemployed single parent on welfare. After being rejected by eight publishers, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published right before her 32nd birthday and quickly became a best-seller.

Voldemort Part II: the “Goodbye”s Begin

Feliz Viaje

I believe in proper greetings and proper goodbyes. They are a respect, an honor and a recognition of the people that you are with. They coincide with proper beginnings and endings of cycles, although beginnings and endings tend to mesh together rather than being black and white apart. I’m at the ending of a cycle, a period in my life of intense self-exploration and discovery here in Mexico; and I’ve had to start to say my goodbyes.

Although I still have about two months here, last Monday I said goodbye to my homeroom students. It was my last class with them, and I started off by thanking them for a wonderful year in which they have taught me just as much as I have taught them, if not more. I told them I would miss them terribly next year. Then I told them that I will miss them so because I won’t be back, that I am leaving. Of course, tears filled my eyes as I really let the feeling of leaving sink in for the first time.

I just had a conversation with my soul sister who has become my rock, my guru, my sage during the past month. She always says exactly what I need to hear and has supported my heart and soul as I work through perfectionism and negative thought patterns. We Skyped, and I burst into tears as I thought of when I will have to Skype with her because I can’t just take a cab over to her house.

Last night, my boyfriend and I talked about how much it is going to hurt when I leave. How he wants to figure out some way for it to hurt less for himself, for both of us.

I have these conversations about Voldemort, about my July 22 departure from this place  in which I have created a life for myself, a place where I call myself home more than I ever have before in my life. This is a place where I have come to know myself at my deepest, most authentic level. This is a place where I have come to know people who are real, honest, loving, compassionate… friends who have transformed my world. This is a place where I have had three transformative relationships, each of which taught me something different and helped me along my personal journey of self-discovery and growth. I don’t want to leave this place because of the people I have met here. Leaving them breaks my heart.

You see…

Those students have become my babies, my group, my community. They have taught me how to treat one another with compassion and love, and have helped keep me young and fresh. It was so hard to say goodbye.

And you see…

My friends are absolute loves. Loves of my life. They have supported and loved me beyond expectations and been my rocks through thick and thin (and boy, have I been through some thick). They want the best for me. They respect my space, my boundaries. They love my weirdness and rejoice in my victories. They are friends for life, and they mean the world to me. I don’t really talk about Voldemort with them because I’m afraid of my heart being completely smashed to pieces.

You see…

I have a boyfriend who is an absolute love, the third Mexican I’ve dated while here, and I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time. He has taught me to love and accept myself unconditionally. He has taught me how to receive love because he genuinely wants to give me love. I don’t want to leave that love, hell no. He wants to give me the world, and I want to take it open-heartedly. But how open-heartedly can I do that when I know I’m about to leave? My heart is already breaking at the thought of leaving him.

So, you see…

I am afraid that upon leaving, I will lose all of myself that I have uncovered, all of the precious diamond that I have been discovering and polishing away at for the past two years. Part of me, a big part of me, is afraid to leave this place. Afraid to leave the people I have come to know, myself included. Leaving is the hard thing to do. Leaving is the reason I stayed for one more year.

But leaving is also the right thing for me to do. Leaving the certain for the unknown is scary. It seems dark. It’s unnerving. It’s terrifying. It’s the kind of thing that gets under your skin and into your heart and can bring you down way low. But it also is the brave thing to do. It takes courage. It takes self-respect enough to honor one’s own decision. It takes strength of the ego and the heart; faith that they will be just fine when this end begins. I feel like I want nothing more than to play hooky and not go to school; simultaneously, I want nothing more than to stop time and stay at school forever. I know I need to leave, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I don’t want to say goodbye to these people in my life.

But I know I have to be true to myself. And my true self knows that staying here is not right for me right now, no matter how dearly these people mean to me. Because at the end of the day, it is me. I have my friends. I have my students. I have my boyfriend. But my job is not what I want to do. Not right now. And if I am not happy, how can I stay for the people around me? What if things change? What if they leave? What if things end? Then what am I left with? I have to remind myself that in September of last year, I knew that I didn’t want to be teaching anymore. It doesn’t light my fire, not teaching English. And while I can really see a life for myself here in Mexico someday, I’m not ready to settle down just yet, no matter how much my heart strings pull me to stay. I have to let myself go, I know I do. I have to let myself leave knowing that I will come back; I have to let myself leave doing my best to have faith that everything will be okay on the other side until I do return.

*

“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” Kahlil Gibran

“It’s not you, it’s me”

When relationships end, dating back as early as middle school, a common, overly-used and under-expressive phrase when one person ends a relationship (and they are typically the only one who wants to end it) is, “it’s not you, it’s me.” We roll our eyes when we hear this phrase used as we age in life and enter (ideally) into mature relationships in which both parties know how to express their emotions, needs, and desires. But as the real world  and time will have it, we do not all mature at exactly the same rate as we age (I know this from first hand experience, we all do quite frankly).

As we grow up, we enter into relationships only to find our buttons pushed by things the other person does and we often let those buttons drive us crazy until we explode. When those buttons explode like a long-dormant volcano, it means that person has hit some emotion or memory from your childhood that is more than likely buried under the years and years of layers of defense mechanisms you have established to protect yourself and these weaker parts of your being from getting hurt, from feeling pain. Once we are sick of having these weak-pain buttons reappear and be pushed time and time again both in a romantic relationship and in any other relationship we have, we realize that these pains need to be confronted in order for us to try and have the most peaceful human existence we can have. That’s what the quote, “the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom,” is all about (thank you, Anais Nin). So when we need to blossom, even though the blossoming itself can be painful, we go to a therapist or enroll in group therapy or do something that will help us work through our hurts of the past that we unconsciously live in the present. Take this as coming from a girl who got so fed up with other people pushing her pain buttons (and herself pushing her own pain button) that she mustered up the courage to find a bilingual therapist in Mexico.

Through my own process of emotional maturing and working through the pains of my past (a.k.a. therapy and reading tons of, yes, self help books), one of the greatest lessons I have learned is that nothing is personal. Absolutely nothing. Anything and everything that someone does to you or says to you is merely a reflection of where they are on their own personal journey in life, or it is a pain or hurt button that somehow in some way you unwillingly and unwantingly push. People react to us based on what we bring out of themselves.

I think the phrase “it’s  not you, it’s me” has an absolute truth to it. It really isn’t you that’s doing anything wrong; it’s the other person whose soul doesn’t mesh with something about you. That sounds almost worse, but it’s really nothing personal. And when we distance ourselves from people by either audibly or silently saying “it’s not you, it’s me,” it’s actually a gift we are giving ourselves. We’re saying, “I know myself well enough that this person or situation causes discord within me, and for my well-being and harmony, I choose to distance myself partially or completely from this person or situation.” It’s an act of self-love. Can the distancing be done or stated hurtfully? Absolutely. Does leaving someone or being left by someone leave scars? You betcha it does. But if the other person is saying, “it’s not you, it’s me,” it’s really a blessing from God saying, “this person no longer serves a purpose in your life at this moment in time, and it is time for them to go so you can grow. I’m closing this window, but honey child there are many many more that are opening.” Hear God out. And be open to the miraculous possibilities that can come from the heartbreak. Because wherever there are cracks, there is light that shines through them.

*
“There came a point when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” Anais Nin