When I was 48, I decided to change careers.
I’d spent my entire professional life working in public relations, in corporate and agency settings, as well as having my own consultancy.
I stopped working for a while when my children were young, then picked up my consultancy work when they were older, then cut back again to help my oldest daughter pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.
Once she left home to pursue her career, I could have easily jumped back into my public relations consultancy and been assured of a steady income working in a profession where I was experienced and comfortable.
But something happens to us at mid-life.
You wake up one day and suddenly the status quo is no longer interesting or even acceptable.
You begin to question the life you’ve been living, the work you’ve devoted yourself to for so many years.
You start asking yourself existential questions like, “Why am I doing all of this? What is my purpose here? Is this really all there is?”
Sometimes this happens as the result of children leaving home. Sometimes you are shaken up by a life crisis like a divorce, job loss, or death.
Or it simply could be the dawning realization you’ve come to the halfway point in your life, and you’re watching time slip away faster and faster.
For me it was a little bit of all of those things that contributed to my decision to step away from my PR career and go on a search for something different — something that felt more authentic, exciting, and purposeful.
Deciding to change careers at midlife was not the safest route. At least it didn’t seem so at the time. I’d been feeling rumblings of dissatisfaction and restlessness for years, but I kept pushing through, doing what I’d been doing because I didn’t know what else to do. (more…)