My quarter life crisis started a little later than scheduled. Around the glorious age of 30, I started wondering about what I was doing with my life. I used to work in Corporate Finance and had done so for almost 10 years. As I went from one job to the next, I always felt like the square peg trying to stuff myself into a round hole.
Right around then was when the first set of panic attacks started. At first, it was small bursts of dissatisfaction. Then, it turned into moments of pure sadness. Then all of it together. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I exploded.
Having to realize that you are no longer the person that you took a lot of pride in is very scary. I no longer wanted to have a career. At least, not in the field of Finance, anyway. It was like wearing an outfit that’s 5 times too big. Or more like an outfit that’s 5 times too small and pinching you in the most obscure of places.
While wearing that really tight outfit, I walked into my VP’s office and told him that I had no idea what I was going to pursue next. I just knew that I was never going to find out if I continued to sit at my desk, immersed in Excel, every single day.
Immediately after I quit, I decided to keep Aria home with me for 3 days a week. Transitioning from having a job to having a child at home was drastic. Almost as drastic as bringing her home with us from the hospital for the first time.
I recently read this beautiful post by fellow contributor Marion Byrne, where she confesses to being a terrible stay at home mom. It wasn’t just because I truly did not know how to entertain a 4 year old. It wasn’t just because I was almost jealous of my husband getting to go to work every day. There was so much more – I was afraid of never finding out what my next step was going to be.
It wasn’t going to end at me being a stay at home mom. It just wasn’t. It’s not because I judge stay at home moms – in fact, I am in awe of them. We’re talking about another square peg, round hole situation. Just like when I was in Finance. My new “coworker” was like the Dwight to my Jim. Or maybe I was the Dwight to her Jim.
After scouring the internet for many, many days, I decided that if I was truly interested in pursuing something entirely different from Finance, I had to go all in. It first started out as wanting to learn more about nutrition. I registered to take prerequisite classes at the San Diego Community College District in order to apply for a Masters in Nutrition program in the future.
While the course was very interesting, I wanted to understand more about the psyche and why some of us develop a disordered relationship with food. I realized it wasn’t the nutrition, but the mindset that I was more interested in. This led me to an online coaching certification to understand eating psychology as well as switch gears toward a Masters in Psychology instead.
It’s safe to say that none of these changes were made easily. In fact, I’d say that I’ve never second guessed myself more in my entire life.
I will say this though. Experiencing college as an adult is an experience like none other. There is an actual willingness and sheer interest to learn. I actually enjoy going to classes. I enjoy [most] of the assignments I need to do.
It’s actually, dare I say, fun!
My future is still fairly hazy. I’m not entirely sure where I am headed as far as a career for myself goes. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make me feel pretty anxious on some days.
But on the days in which I’m actually living in the present and not worrying about my future, I am fascinated by this new world that I’ve placed myself in. It’s a world in which I no longer feel like a square peg.
I’m a 30-something mom who’s going to college to figure out what the rest of her life is going to look back and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
Now, if I could just work on my mom-guilt not coming in the way of this fun, that’s be so great. So great.
If you’ve ever considered starting a career or feel stuck in yours, my advice to you would be to go for it! It really is never too late and there’s no better time than today to start fresh.
And know that you have someone right here who’s got your back! 😉