Saturday, October 10, 2009

Planning for a Different Future

I’m a planner. There is nothing I don’t love more than sitting in front of a big lined tablet and making lists. Or daydreaming about a future life not yet realized. The problem is I sometimes fall flat on the execution of a plan.

I have spent the better part of the last ten years in the planning stages for major life decisions. I got married and became a step parent. My husband and I bought a condo. We pulled ourselves out of consumer debt and then got ourselves back in.

The one thing I have not accomplished is getting my degree. I woke up a few months ago and realized I was 38 years old and my life was not exactly as I thought it would be at this age. Problem was, I never planned on how my life was going to be. I just woke up every day and went to work and spent my money and lived my life one day at a time with little thought to the future. I thought I had more time.

I know part of my problem is putting things off until I was skinnier, we were in less debt, we owned a home, etc. [Insert excuse here].

The heart of the matter is that I am not satisfied with my job. What I spend more than 40 hours a week doing is mind numbingly boring and not fulfilling what so ever. The pay is enough but just enough. It has been this way for a long time. I don’t have a career plan. I have a job for the simple reason I need to keep paying silly things like my mortgage, my bills and my debt.

That’s right, it’s a JOB – not a career. I did go to college but I did not graduate. I was not certain when I was there what I wanted to do so I decided on Fashion Design. You see, I wanted to design costumes for film and theater. I wanted a career that would be creative and exciting and different every day of my life. I ended up in accounting and have been working in that field for the better part of the last fifteen years.

Sometimes I feel trapped in my life. I have a husband who I love dearly. He has two kids we help support. We have a condo and debt and I have no idea how I would even go about going back to school and paying for it and choosing what it is I would want to study all the while working full time.

Then there is the ticking clock of my age. To most people I am still young, easily able to change from a job to a career of my choosing. Even if I had no college classes under my belt and started today I would be 42 when I graduated. That is still not unreasonable to start a new career. I still would have over twenty years of working life left to live.

My fear is that I will go through all this extra schooling that I will have to borrow money to pay for and I will have to start out making less than I make now. My fear is that I decide on something and then I end up not liking it. My fear is that I might not be good enough.

Even though I have those fears I am going to do it. I have given myself just under two years to prepare. At the ripe old age of 40 I plan to go back to school and finish a degree so I can change careers and do something I enjoy. I'm certain my plan will change as I go along and find out more information but it's a plan and you have to start with something.

Do any of you know of people who have started over in their 30's?


Crystal said...

Excellent post. I love how honest you are. :)

I don't think it's too late at all for you to change your path in life and switch careers. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." I know it can be frightening to make such huge decisions, esp. when there's no guarantee the risks you take will pay off, but it doesn't sound like you've been happy at all with your job in the last 15 years. (15 years is a looong time!) And since our careers (or jobs) are such big parts of our lives,, where we spend so many of our hours, you owe it to yourself to take the risk and change it. I have faith it will all work out for you. Just stay strong and don't let the speed bumps stop you from moving forward and becoming the happiest you can be. :)

Anonymous said...

I switch careers in my mid-30s. For two years, I went to school part-time while working full-time. I was fortunate that I had convinced my employers to pay for tuition and books. While it was certification in a field (and not a new degree), it definitely took a lot of time and effort.

I had an inkling I would enjoy the new field but it's true that you never know until you actually do it. In my case, it was worth it.

paisley penguin said...

Crystal - Thanks so much for your supporttive words! It means a lot to me!

Anonymous - thanks for your post. I have not started major research on what it is that I will go back to school for. I have flirted with the idea of a certification to change acreers sooner and then part time classes after that for futher development.

My company does have tuition reimbursement but I don't want an accounting degree so I have to find other sources.

Some have suggested that if I can show how a degree in a different field will benefit me at my current company they may help with tuition.

Bottom line is I would rather work part time and attend school full time than take part time classes for the next several years.

I am giving myself a window in wich to get some debt paid off and postition myself and could take a a class here and there in that time.

Only time will tell.