I had this thought way back in my early 20s.
It went like this: In my early 20s I was just about to embark on my illustrious media career. I foresaw all the fame, riches and accolades I’d gather. This was my time, I posited, to be selfish and do work for my own sake. Then naturally, in my 30s, I’d shift towards a career in which I could help others. Give back, y’know? Something like therapy, counselling, social work. A career that did more for my soul than my wallet. It seemed a natural progression, and well within my reach.
Turns out my illustrious media career stagnated. I’m not saying it’s over, but it certainly hasn’t delivered on my hypothesis. I’m underworked and understimulated by an entry level job. It’s been stifling, frustrating and not a great outcome overall. I’ve tried a bunch of things, but lacked the focus to zero in on what it is I can deliver. At this stage, I’m free to question a lot of stuff. Deep in my heart, I do want to see it through, find the promise I thought it had. At the same time, I can only tread water for so long.
I was scrolling through a Reddit thread on the best advice people had been given. I’m paraphrasing, but one person said that he was considering switching careers and returning to further education later in life. His dad asked what was stopping him. “I’m 43” he replied “by the time I’d finish my degree, I’d be 46.” His dad responded “If you don’t go back to school, will you still be 46 without the education?” It gave me pause. I’m 32. My life is very far from over (much as I kvetch otherwise). Disregarding the fiscal responsibilities, I could finish an undergraduate degree by the time I was 36. I would still have most of my life in front of me. Money aside, it would very much be possible.
I was talking with a friend last night, and somehow my early 20s idea came back to my head. I blurted out “y’know, I’d probably be pretty decent at counselling.” He replied affirmatively, having gone back to study counselling in his 30s. I gave it more thought. I had a shitty sleep last night, but counselling or something of its ilk kept coming back to my brain. I’ve thought about it in the light of day, and it still seems like a viable notion. Its something I could very much do, a profession that plays to my strengths, and one I think would fill me with the earned satisfaction I’m missing. Helping others sounds like a great use of my time. Moreso than scheduling TV logs with promos, in any case.
This is not a declaration that anything is happening. I think it’s the kernel of an idea, and it could be worth my time to look at what steps it would take to manifest. What are the obstacles? How long would a degree take? What level of education would I need to pursue? Would the tradeoffs be workable, and achievable? Can I imagine better outcomes over the next five or so years?
‘Cause my ten year plan expired five years back.