Would You Trust An 18-Year-Old To Make a Life Decision For You?
When we were kids, adults constantly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The answer often depended on when they asked. Once, it might be a doctor. Then, a mom/dad. Or astronaut, President of the United States, teacher …
Fast forward to becoming a high school graduate, and it’s time to choose your college and major. Did you have a counselor who helped you navigate that choice? Did you do any research? Soul-searching? Conjuring? Did you listen to a “wise adult” who guided you to their choice of majors for you?
Whatever process you used, you chose your major and completed your education, graduating into your chosen profession.
My first college experience was in a Radiologic Technology program, and I became an X-ray tech, working for ten years in the field. It was okay, I was good at my job, but I was not emotionally prepared to deal with the human side of the work. Relationships were not one of my strengths.
After ten years, I got bored — the work was always the same, and I had nowhere to go. I decided to go to University but didn’t know what my major would be and chose Management Information Systems (programming) and Accounting to get my feet wet. I loved both classes and did well in them.
My accounting instructor approached me one day and said, “You’re really good at this. Have you considered Accounting as your major?” (I hadn’t.) “If you’re interested, I can get you scholarships in accounting to continue your studies.”
Decision made. I went through college on scholarships and grants, graduated to work in one of the “Big 8” firms, and later had my own practice. Again, my business was successful, I loved working with clients and marketing my services, but I hated doing the work! Accounting was not my thing. I became a CPA because an instructor saw something in me. It wasn’t something I planned for myself.
Nothing wrong with accounting. It’s a great career and an excellent background for many other things. But if we’re talking about life choices and what you will do with the rest of your life, should somebody else be making that choice for you? Worse, should the 18-year-old you be making decisions about your life’s work? You don’t have any real-life experience to know what you want to be doing at that age.
Cary Grant had it right in the Movie Holiday with Katharine Hepburn.
He wanted to play and explore the world while he was young, then come back and work when he knew what he was working for.
In that vein, as a boomer woman, you’re now at another decision point as you’re writing your encore: What do YOU want to be doing for your next act?
Not what does somebody else think you should be doing, but what do YOU want to do?
The question sounds easy enough, but most of us struggle with it.
Let me make it a little easier for you — whatever you decide, it’s not forever. You can revise the script any time you want to. Always wanted to learn swing dancing? Great! Sign up for a class and swing away. If you hate it, go on to golf, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or go back to school and learn about the stars. There are no limits on what you can do. The key is that whatever “it” is makes your heart sing and brings you joy, even if “it” is as simple as staying home and reading a book in a window nook while gazing at the birds splashing in the puddles.
You’ve done your time in the trenches. Now it’s your time to choose based on a life of experience of learning what you don’t like and what you do and designing a life all for you.
PUSH the envelope and go beyond anything you thought possible.
There’s no telling where you’ll end up!
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