The purple gentian is an unassuming wildflower that emerges in the cold November sun. Amenable to harsh conditions, it brightly carries on when other flowers have long since disappeared. Emily Dickinson, the American botanist better known as a poet, wrote admiringly about the gentian—“The frosts were her condition”—and claimed it as a vital emblem of her own late development. In her poems, the gentian proclaims that the late bloomer comes tardily, but shines gloriously in adversity. For most people, however, there is nothing glorious in having to wait too long for success or in taking on mundane challenges that others overcame long ago. A 30-year-old wobbling unsteadily on a bicycle or floundering in the shallow end of a swimming pool is hardly the ravishing late bloomer Dickinson envisioned. Sometimes it seems like the only real adversities the late-blooming bike rider or swimmer faces are frustration and humiliation. If kids can learn this stuff, why can’t This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 47 Alice Sheppard On dance as a channel to commune with the body—even when it hurts. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Dr. Woo Meet the tattoo artist who's inked LA. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Walt Odets The author and clinical psychologist on why self-acceptance is the key to a gay man's well-being. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 47 A Picture of Health Xiaopeng Yuan photographs the world’s weirdest wellness cures. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi Inside the astrology company on a mission to prove workplace well-being is more than a corporate tagline. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Julia Bainbridge On the life-enhancing potential of not drinking alcohol.