“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” C.S. Lewis
It’s a massive decision, in fact it’s been 15 years in the making. Today I resigned from my management role with no intention of seeking a full time job for a couple of years.
My family were very working class as many peoples are. My dad a sparky and when I was born my mum gave up her job as a bank teller to look after first one but then when my sister came along, both of her kids. Perhaps coming from that background my father worked every bit of overtime so he could to earn more money. I suppose when you don’t have it, money is something you figure brings you a lot of things and allows you to offer your children a life that perhaps you never had.
During my childhood, I missed out on a lot of time with my father and as I grew older, I was angry about this but maybe I forgot what opportunities it had afforded me. The money to send me to university and the freedom of mind that education gives you. Indeed I doubt whether I would be the other side of the world if my father hadn’t spent many of his working years working every hour that he was given.
Since I left university, I had a dream profession in mind and for one reason or another, it never quite came off. At one point I applied for a course which would lead me down the path but after being almost assured of a place was told funding had been cut. And so my corporate career developed and the more I progressed and earned the further that dream seemed to move away.
I’d spoke about it to various partners over the years and my recollections are that it wasn’t received that positively, what with the need to retrain for a couple of years and financial burden this would place on us. That was until Claire came along and far from a lack of positivity, she actively encouraged me at almost every opportunity to indulge. You might think that was it, the decision was made but then I went into a mental tailspin of the thought of having to possibly be reliant on someone else for financial support. That’s a big thing for me and it’s taken me months to get through it in my head and a few chats with friends and even my psychologist.
Then one day, I applied to do a Masters of Teaching which would allow me to pursue the career I’ve always dreamed of, a primary school teacher and just a couple of days ago, not one but two universities accepted that application and offered me places on the course.
To rewind just a second, I’d thought long and hard about whether I was too old at 41 (soon to be 42) to entertain a complete change of career. Over the years, I’ve always had thoughts of doing something completely different, but there is something quite comforting in doing what you’re used to and not stepping outside of your comfort zone. However, one crisp Melbourne morning on my work to work, I came to the conclusion that in fact I have half of my working life left and how could I justify to the 70 year old me that I’d never at least given it a go.
I don’t think I’ll look back and regret my career to date when I finally leave corporate life, even though it’s served me very well. I’ve made such amazing friends, I’ve been paid well for what I’ve done and for the majority of my career I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done. The people I’ve encountered have taught me a lot of things and I equally hope I have taught them things too.
For me, this is truly a life changing decision and perhaps one of the biggest I’ll ever make. That’s not to say though in recent years that my life hasn’t been a series of big decisions. I’m sure going forward with this one, they’ll be frustrations along the way and some days, I’ll regret my choice but hopefully the majority of my days will be spent thinking I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do.
The last few weeks have been full of charge and I’ve been doing my best to fully embrace this. I’ve perhaps made too many choices in the past to attempt to make other people happy when in fact because of the effect they’ve had on me they have had the opposite effect. Claire has from the start encouraged me to make choices for me and not feel guilty for them. Her part in this decision is pivotal and without her support I would never have made it.
I’m sure some of you think I’m mad. A starting salary of a teacher is not huge however money isn’t everything and in fact the more choices money has brought me, in some ways, the more unhappy I’ve become.
I never been the best at spending time on my own and considering the basis of my course is online study, this is a challenge I will have to face. Although that is exactly how I see, as a challenge, my inability to deal with my loneliness at times has caused me much pain and perhaps a period of focusing on study will prove beneficial for the future not only career wise but personally as well.
I face this all with a fair share of both trepidation and excitement. The news has been positively welcomed in my friend group with no dissenting voices and that has to this point helped to propel me along. I’m not sure what it will be like, not having the routine of an office to go to everyday, people to talk to and my daily morning coffee and lunch routines. I’ve always thought I’ve been one that’s favoured routines, but maybe I’ll develop a whole new ones. I know Claire already has the vacuuming, washing up and cleaning pencilled in for me most days.
Life is ever changing and evolving and I’m finding that a very nice place to be.