I am changing careers at 47, fulfilling a long-time dream of becoming a therapist. While it’s exciting, it’s also scary and I feel as though a part of me is being left behind.
Being a therapist isn’t a new concept for me. Even as I climbed the media marketing ranks at big corporations such as Lifetime Television, Nickelodeon, and Oxygen Media, I often thought about jumping ship. My commute was long and I travelled often for work—but as the years went on, I got better clients, better money and had a terrific amount of flexibility.
I was the image of a woman who has it all. At what point would it be right to make a change? I had kids’ schedules to manoeuvre and our lives were always in fast-forward motion. It was a lot to juggle and I didn’t want to cause disruption. But maybe that’s where I was wrong.
As a mum, it’s very easy to sacrifice your own ambitions and get caught up in the life you are expected to live. I was wary of changing our rhythm. I didn’t want to bring financial hardship on my husband by going back to school. After I had my first child, now 14, I decided it was time, but still didn’t make an immediate leap. I took a few classes, stopped, took a few classes, stopped again. I didn’t fully “lean in” to my new career choice.
One might call it a lack of commitment.
But after a bout with cancer several years ago, I learned a thing or two about myself. I learned to value those around me more and not take anything for granted. I learned to value time and vowed to spend more time with my children. I even decided to travel more. Since then, I've circled the globe, travelling to Iceland, Hawaii, Mexico, Holland, Denmark, England, Poland, Austria and Germany.
But the biggest lesson I learned is that life is finite. My new mantra became If not today, when?
After my diagnosis, time became of the essence. The time to switch careers was now but still, how could I anticipate the outcome of a new career path as a therapist? What would it be like to walk away from a solid, more predictable career in marketing to switch to a field with many unknowns? And importantly, am I be the right type of person to be a therapist?
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