I am unmarried, I have no children and I am starting a new career...at 38 years old!
Ten years ago I was married, we were planning to start a family and while I wasn't following the career path I wanted, I was at least following a secure path. Then it all fell apart.
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After a massive life change like that you have to get yourself out of the hole it puts you in, any way you can. My ex and I both received a tidy settlement from the sale of our house, so I was able to quit my job, travel and take time to heal. I went to England and the UK for six weeks, then the USA for three weeks! It was one of the most awe-inspiring and satisfying times of my life.
But the money didn't last forever and after eight months off work, it was time to return to the workforce. I didn't want to, but not for the reason you think. I didn't want to go back to work because I hadn't done one of the things that I had predominately taken time off for!
That was to write! Traveling was on the agenda too, but I had planned on writing my first novel during that time (which of course would have been a best seller!). But I blew it! I put zero effort into my writing. I had this fantastic opportunity to do something great with my life and I just simply didn't.
Having said that, I am glad I had to return to work when I did, because I met my now partner. We've been together for four years, are living together and planning to start a family.
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And now, I also have another opportunity to follow my dream. You see, once I went back to work I started to follow a nice, 'safe', career again. This time I moved through it quite quickly and within five years (and after three jobs) I was a manager. A great success, but it came at a price.
From the moment I accepted the role I felt like I was selling out. I still had dreams of being a writer and an actress, but I was also attracted to the pay packet of the job. The result was that while I was being paid very well, I was miserable! I was working long hours and completely zapped of energy at the end of every day. Add to that the stress of next to no training, or support, and having to deal with a 2IC (assistant manager) who didn't seem to respect my authority.
In addition to that I was also studying online for a Bachelor degree, trying to start work on that best selling novel, and trying to find time for acting lessons. With all of that stress and strain swirling around inside me, I ended up breaking down (more than once), at home and at work. I had to make a decision, to give up the job and take something low key so I could study, write and act - or give up the dreams I'd had for so long and commit to the money, job and 'safe' career.
It was a tough decision to make because while I had these dreams, the appeal of 'safe' was overwhelming. My boyfriend and I were planning a future together, and I had some debt as well.
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Then the decision was made. Not by me in the end, even though I was very close to it (and the job wasn't winning the race), but by my boss. Of course I was faced with feelings of failure afterwards, but I was also relieved! I didn't have to make the decision and live with the idea that I had purposely given up the money and security.
So now I'm free from the job to pursue my dreams. And lucky for me I have that awesome boyfriend by my side. He supports me in my decision to not look for a full time, permanent job so I can focus on my study, writing and acting. He believes in me and believes I will succeed. And this time, because I have that support and encouragement, I feel confident that I won't blow this second chance!
It is scary to admit that I am 38 and at the start of a few journeys that most people my age are either half way through or finishing! But I believe every thing happens for a reason, and I don't believe that we all have to follow a certain formula in order to have a satisfying life. There's a small part of me that wishes I was married, had children already and was at the height of my writing and acting careers. But life is what it is and you need to be able to roll with it and keep moving, no matter how daunting the task ahead is!
Don't be afraid of what life throws at you because support always comes, in one form or another. And remember that when it looks like your world is ending...it's because a new one is beginning!
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