I understand the benefits of going into a ‘normal’ professional field immediately. I have chosen not to do that. I have chosen the less certain route, working on two very important pursuits. These are two aspects of my life that I take very seriously, and that I need to feel like I’ve finished before I can move on. Pursuing these endeavors is also a tremendous amount of pressure. However, I welcome this pressure. I enjoy the process of overcoming the impossible, and working very hard for something. This is one area of massive personal growth for me recently; I used to shy away and called this pressure “stress”, and I would complain about it. Now, I welcome this pressure, knowing that I’ve worked very hard to get to the point where I am able to handle the level of responsibility that these pursuits require.
When I envision myself in my 50’s, a time when many have what they call a “mid life crisis”, I envision two scenarios. In the first, I accepted things as they were and moved on. I envision myself with a family of my own, but personally unfulfilled, unhappy and burnt out because I’d be in a very challenging field, and raising a family is no walk in the park either. In the second, I completely finish my current endeavors, accepting and loving the successes and failures that went with them. I have absolutely no loose ends left. When I move on, I am older, but am surrounded by like-minded individuals who are not only intellectually driven, but willing to take a risk. These colleagues and friends are older as well, accounting for their life experience in various other fields. In this second scenario, I am in good place personally, excited to see what the future holds, and how I can continue to contribute in changing the world. I hope to have a family in the second scenario also. I hope that my partner understands where I have been and where I am going. I hope we raise fearless, but empathetic children.
I prefer the scenario where I push myself to the professional limits that were previously unreachable. I prefer the second scenario because in the first, I would be settling, and I do not want to settle. This decision has been years in the making. I do not take this lightly. I understand that this is out of the “norm” for some social circles. I often feel like I am working towards pursuits that no one can see but me. That said, I’m sure there are many others who can relate (oh, how big the world is!) So, as I sit in my little corner of the world, here’s just one bit of advice from one human to another: Keep your chin up, and remember that “just as the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly”.