Mid-Life Career Changes…
I’m 32 years old and I am changing careers. Is that foolish?
I guess the answer to that question doesn’t really matter, or not yet anyway, because my new “career” hasn’t been decided yet. Some may call that foolish. The truth is that this is a topic that many of my friends are dealing with at the moment – or have dealt with over the last couple of years. Changing their “career,” their direction in life. What is it that makes some of us decide to change our chosen profession mid-way through life, whereas so many other individuals pick a path (doctor, lawyer, teacher, artist etc) and stick with it till they decide to retire? And yet, I am sure that there are many other individuals who feel as if they are “stuck” in their job or industry, even though they don’t really like it, simply because “it’s a job,” and it pays the bills.
What’s worse? Staying in a job or field that doesn’t really provide you with any satisfaction, constantly wondering if there is something else that you would like, something else out there that would make you feel more complete, more satisfied….or making a change mid-way through life….not knowing if it will work out but knowing that you had to give it a try?
I think I fall into the latter category. I left a well-paying job a few months ago in order to go back to school (again) and pursue a dream of becoming a nutritionist, and I don’t regret it…but the only thing that makes me wonder if it was the right thing to do is the sense that by your thirties, you’re “expected” to know what you want to do…to already have a career, kids, a house, a retirement account set up etc, etc…You’re not supposed to be going back to college for another degree in your thirties. But who established that unspoken “rule?” Sometimes I feel that we are so accustomed to living with unspoken “rules” or rites of passage in society, a certain sequence of life events that everyone is typically expected to follow, that breaking away from that just seems wrong…But why should we feel this sense of guilt for going against the norm and making a change? At some point, we have to recognize and remember that we get one chance at life and it’s too short to waste…to not pursue a dream…to not make a change and spend year after year wondering if you would have made it in a different field/job/career…
Not everyone may be in a situation to make a change even if they do want to, since there are of course many factors to consider: family, finances etc….And making a change also involves some degree of planning…a timeline, however tentative, and some idea of an end goal. But if change is desired, and possible, and feasible….then by all means, go for it.
Because life is just too short to waste.