Five People Whose Successes May Make You Feel Better About The Lack Of Yours


I think “Real Days” has a better ring to it than “Boardwalk”

Most days I’m pretty happy with the way my life has panned out thus far.

Then there are days when I come across some bullshit like this mega yacht that was parked across the deck from a bar I was drinking at in Atlantic City a while ago. On days like that I want hop in my time machine and kick my little free-spirited, fun-loving, twenty-two year old self right up the ass and say “Hey! Maybe you might want to think about one of those careers everyone in your family is always droning on about because if you keep this nonsense up you’re going to be thirty-four and living in an apartment that can’t support the energy demands of a hairdryer and a toaster at the same time!”

Seriously though, I legitimately thought I was going to have a vessel like this by the time I was twenty-five. I’m six weeks away from being a decade beyond that due date now and sometimes I find that it can be hard to keep my dream of being so filthy rich that I can fill my empty soul with endless quantities of material goods, alive. It’s times like these that I think it’s best to have a little perspective. If you were thinking along the lines of me taking inventory of all of the amazing things I have in my life and focusing on being grateful for them, well then you haven’t been reading this blog very long.

No silly! I decided to look up a bunch of people on the internet who didn’t become super successful until way later in life so that I could remain hopeful about one day having a grand spiral staircase to make dramatic entrances on and not feel like such a loser. Duh.

Here they are:

Joy Behar


I looooove Joy Behar. She kind of reminds me of my mom. In the way that she’s funny, that is. Joy Behar wasn’t always a comedian though. At thirty-seven she gave up her teaching gig to pursue a career in stand-up comedy and it wasn’t until she was forty-five that she had her first TV series on Lifetime called Way Off Broadway, which only ran for one season I might add.

For the next decade she supported herself by touring comedy clubs and doing bit parts in movies (oh, did I mention all while being a single mom?) until 1997 when she was fifty-five and she won a co-hosting spot on my favorite guilty pleasure, The View. Now she’s got major ducats and basically makes a living speaking her mind about all kinds of stuff on a variety of different talk shows, which would basically be my dream scenario. Fair play, Ms. Behar.

Julia Child


Before becoming a famous chef and television personality, Julia Child was working for the government during World War II, conveying all sorts of secret documents which ultimately led to her being sent on assignments all over the world but it wasn’t until her husband was transferred to Paris to work for the American Embassy that Child took a real interest in cooking. She enrolled at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school in 1948 when she was thirty-six.

Following her training, she collaborated with two other students to put together a cookbook which she hoped would adapt sophisticated French cuisine for mainstream Americans. However it wasn’t until 1961, when she was forty-nine, that Mastering The Art Of French Cooking was published.

She got such a positive response from viewers while promoting her book on a Boston public television station that they offered her a series of her own which ultimately led to a Peabody Award and then an Emmy and all kinds of cash. So maybe I should attempt opening more than a Lean Cuisine in my kitchen every once in a while.

Alan Rickman


Otherwise known as the bad guy from Die Hard . Oh and I guess he did some other movie called Harry Potter?  I’m told he had a pretty big part in that, right Vanna?

Rickman didn’t get his start in theater until he was almost thirty and by “start” I mean that he was a dresser, as in he dressed other actors for their scenes. Throughout the seventies, he would eventually be cast in a number of productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company but it wasn’t until he was forty-six that he was cast in his first movie role as Hans Gruber, a German terrorist, who to this day I still don’t understand WHY if he could speak English with an American accent in the film, he didn’t just bother to talk that way ALL the time and not only when he was trying to fool Bruce Willis. My Oma has been here for over fifty years and if she could speak English without a German accent, I’m sure she would. It’s not the same as being from Brittain!

Ok, um, I’ve lost my place. ANYWAY, he also did Love Actually and a bunch of other movies and I’m sure now he lives in a castle by the sea or something, so good on you Alan Rickman!

Laura Ingalls Wilder


Laura Ingalls-Wilder spent around the first fifty years of her life dealing with all of the typical inconveniences that most people living in the 1800s had to cope with. You know, tragedies. In 1885, Wilder quit her job as a teacher to raise a family and help her husband Almanzo run a farm. However all that didn’t turn out so hot as she lost one baby a month after he was born, Almanzo became partially paralyzed after contracting diphtheria and then in 1890 their house went and burned to the ground.

It wasn’t until she was about fifty-three that Wilder’s daughter Rose, who was a journalist, suggested that she write a memoir about her childhood growing up as part of a pioneer family, living in a log cabin outside of Pepin, Wisconsin. Wilder took to the idea and spent twelve years developing her first book Little House In The Big Woods which was published when she was sixty-five. And that’s back when sixty-five was like a real sixty-five, not like now where sixty-five year olds are still wondering whether or not they should have children.

Her book went on to become an autobiographical series that ended with her writing her last installment These Happy Golden Years when she was seventy-six. Now she’s super famous and there was even a television series about her life called Little House On The Prairie. So with any luck, some big producer will finally take notice of my years spent toiling away in Rockland County as a child struggling to grasp third grade division and make a movie about me twenty years after I’m dead. Sweet.

Grandma Moses


I mean even her name is Grandma. She was forty-seven when she painted her first painting. She had run out of wall paper in a room she was decorating and decided to throw up a blank sheet of paper and make a scene of her own. It’s now a famous work of art called the FireboardBut it wasn’t until she was seventy-six that Anna Mary Moses gave up her embroidery because of arthritis and took up painting again on a regular basis.

At seventy-eight she was “discovered” when an art collector saw three of her pieces hanging in a drug store window. At ninety-one, Grandma Moses had her first art show, making her instantly famous. This is before Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Pretty impressive.

At any rate, Grandma Moses gives me the most hope of all because while I’m sure she was a very nice lady, most of her pictures look like ones that I did which were rejected from my school’s fourth grade art exhibit.


This shit goes for over a million dollars. I really should have finished art school. Or on second thought, maybe I should just take up doodling again because I’ve made squiggles on pizza receipts that could rival this painting in technique and artistic vision.

So if you’re like me and wondering just when the world is going to finally come around and give your brilliance the recognition it deserves and then maybe like a couple of million dollars also, you can take solace in the fact that just because you’re a little past your deadline of having the kind of possessions it would take every last drop of the Earth’s non-renewable resources to fuel, doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen.

With any luck, you’ll strike it rich a couple of minutes before you’re dead.

  • http://charter Oma

    Kelly Muffin, look around you what riches you have, how lonely you would be in that Yacht, besides you already speak your mind like Joy Behar, if we like it or not .About you cooking talent: I’m not so sure about it since I never have eaten something you made. For acting??? well I must say…….Writing, yeah you are FANTASTIC at that!!!! And painting, yes, hands down
    Sooo ; Look at all the riches you have; you don’t need all the money to enjoy your beautiful live. Besides, you look fantastic in your self made Hat.

    • lisa

      I love OMA!

      • Kelly

        It’s hard not to love that woman. It’s kind of annoying how she’s right all the time though. So let me get this straight, I don’t want a mega yacht?

  • Shannon

    Haha, learning about all of these people does actually make me feel better; it’s a nice balance with all the people who discover their life’s purpose at 16. But the very best thing about this is the comment before mine. Who needs money or fame or your wildest dreams when you can look good in a hat! (I saw that post and it was a very good hat.)

    • Kelly

      Looked good in the hat, threw out the shoes immediately upon returning home. I am finally at the age where I need to buy sensible footwear. Thanks Shannon!

  • Philip

    I love Oma and I don’t even know her!

    • Kelly

      Oma, I think you should start a blog.

      • http://charter Oma

        I leave this up to you, you are much better with stuff, but I love you!!!!

  • Damien

    This is such a perfect post for me to read right now. I find people’s stories fascinating, especially when they sort of took a ‘backroad’ approach to life. I used to think that graduating, getting a PhD and immediately teaching at a uni and pumping out books was the only way to be successful in life.

    But then life happens, and you don’t immediately get those things. But after some time, and the perspective that age affords (I am well past the 10 year anniversary of my 25th year) you see that living life and learning is more important than money, degrees, and fame.

    And yet, things work out. I write books, have an advanced degree, and teach at a uni, and I have definitely taken a backroad to this point. A road I wouldn’t trade for anything.

    I really enjoyed this post.

  • Kelly

    I agree completely. As much as I joke about wanting piles of cash, I’m really pretty satisfied with my situation. I think we get caught up setting deadlines for ourselves and then kicking ourselves when we don’t meet them. It’s easy to forget all the things that happened in between though, life as you put it. And so many of those things have been so much fun. I may have been closer to my dream of making a living writing had I not spent so much time traveling or messing around partying or working ridiculous jobs, but then what the hell would I write about?

    I like your backroad approach and I too, wouldn’t trade mine. I hope I remember that sentiment the next time I pass by a four story brownstone with a backyard and a parking space.

  • Gabriele

    The first time I saw Alan Rickman was in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves in 1991. He had great comedic timing. He was also great in Galaxy Quest. And my favorite line from that movie is appropriate for this particular post. Ready.. “Never Give Up! Never Surrender!” And as my friend Susan always says…in regards to those wealthy people…but are they happy? I’m sure we could be just as happy rich as we can be being poor. The painting you gave me, which received honorable mention, and was displayed in the artistic Hopper House always reminded me of a Grandma Moses painting…I’ve told you that in the past. Love this post, I guess it’s never too late to apply your creative juices and see where it takes you. I plan on pursuing the children’s stories again…just to see what would happen….and ignore the fortune teller who told me…”Let your daughter do the writing!” I’ll show him!

    • Kelly

      I was thinking of that painting exactly when I referred to how much more talented I am than Grandma Moses. It was called Hills and Dales and in retrospect was probably pretty lame, for a ninety-year-old. For a fourteen-year-old it wasn’t that bad. I keed, I keed, Grandma Moses! And Katherine Hepburn said “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” I’ve only been one but I would have to agree that having money (at least some of it) is definitely preferable to not having it. Money is freedom. I don’t need it all, but I need more. So I can keep writing this all this nonsense without my pesky job getting in the way.

  • Rach

    Katherine Hepburn might have been on to something…
    Thanks for this post — a much needed laugh and inspiration. I have a feeling I’m on the Grandma Moses track to riches, not the Justin Beiber track (especially considering that I’m also thirty-mumble), but at least I know it’s on the horizon!
    Also — Oma is divine. That’s all that can be said.

  • cantaloupe

    This does make me feel better. Until I remember that I’m already 26 and I’m not even close to talented in anything. So by the time I develop some skills, I’ll be old. And then by the time I’m famous for my skills, I’ll be dead. And post-mortem success just doesn’t seem enjoyable.

  • Velvet Barentine

    I love your posts! Your blog is such a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I need to see old people go out there and get what’s theirs! Really, though- we do make arbitrary deadlines for ourselves, don’t we? Goals are good, living is better. And living is going to happen either way, so unless you invent something or are recognized for true talent, its hard to get rich. Besides, if we all got rich by 25, there would be no one to clean our yachts.

    Your writing is excellent, keep it up and I have no doubt you will be recognized with piles of cash!

  • Carole Kane

    You’ve got a chance at writing & art the others not so much.

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  • Todd

    Hi Kelly!

    What makes me feel better is is how sad and small that helicopter pad is. What kind of bullshit is that? Get a real yacht. You should just name your sad yatcht “People of Walmart”. Am I right?!??!! .

    p.s. – that Grandma Moses thing makes me sad. Happy for her, but sad for humanity.

    • Kelly

      It’s pretty pathetic. In fact that was the only thing that made me think “eh, I don’t know if working one extra shift per week is really going to be worth this thing.”

      Glad I’m not the only one.

  • George

    Funny, I too had art work displayed at the prestigious Hopper House. Then gave up my promising career in pursuit of making millions.

  • Erika

    This was absolutely brilliant. ACTUALLY made me laugh out loud… and encouraged me, too. :)

  • John

    Maybe the owner of that yacht got one just under 500tons to eliminate the commercial permits and taxes…I just looked at the size of that thing and it looks like its just under that. As far as the helicopter goes, must be a pretty skilled guy or gal to land it on that thing. Love your posts! Great blog for sure