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40. The age I decided to make some major life changes

Where the hell did I disappear to?

In looking at the last post on my business FB page, I can see the date of June 21, 2021-and almost two years later, it feels like a lifetime ago. Maybe the best place to start is to tell you what I have been up to, and invite you to share some of your recent life changes as well.

In October 2021, I started considering a major life change. I was on the cusp of my 40th birthday, and wondering how I wanted to spend the last half of my career. I was in the midst of balancing two active and growing boys’ schedules, my job and our new business. I was feeling the pressure of needing to be more available to my family, a need to support Isaac’s business more, and also feeling like I was burning out of my career. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED most aspects of my job. But the changes in the compliance world of HR, and staffing shortage challenges, (among many, many other things!) were taking a toll on me. My work days were over full and yet I could feel my job moving more away from the things I really loved-which were one on one work with people.

Something I have always heard when working with others is “you should be a therapist.” It is often thrown in like a thank you…sort of a “you have really helped me make sense of this problem, I appreciate it, this must be what therapy is like” kind of comment. I have always been flattered, but hadn’t ever taken it to heart as something I would be good at,even if helping people was something I enjoyed doing. I love working through a problem with someone-showing them compassion, and that they are not alone, listening empathetically to what they are working through, and when appropriate, helping them develop a path towards their next steps or solutions.

I started doing some research and found a graduate program that I was excited about. I applied and signed up for my first class to start in January 2022. I wasn’t really sure how I could add in another thing to the already delicate balancing act I was responsible for, but I felt a pull that I couldn’t ignore.

Big birthday milestones are days for making big change, right? So on my 40th birthday, I approached my manager and told him I wanted to make a change. I was going back to school, supporting my husband’s business and wanted to be more available to my kids. To say he was supportive of my new direction would be an understatement. For the next 10 months, we worked out a gradual transition plan, allowing me to support my replacement, support the resort and also pursue my education to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Are you still reading? Amazing. Let’s keep going.

This all sounds packaged and pretty, right? I left my corporate, well paying job to follow my passion, and things just worked out perfectly, right?

Kind of.

What I never realized was how much of my identity was tied up in what I do. I had these incredible relationships with people, those that I worked alongside through some really tough shit in the 16 years I had been there. How could I abandon them? How could I walk away and turn my back? Was this the right decision? Could I afford it? What was I giving up? What was I taking control of? Would my kids understand? Would it hurt my marriage to add on this additional stress? Did others see me as a quitter? Selfish?

I was able to take the first few classes for free, because there is such a huge need for counselors right now. But the last few I have had to take loans out for. That felt like a backwards trip from where we had worked to get to. I had finally paid off my college debt, now I was taking on more? Was this the right thing to do?

And most jarring of all:

Would what I did even matter once I was gone?

So many difficult questions and feelings of self doubt swam through my mind, again and again.

But each time I started a new class, the path was made more clear to me. I was meeting incredible people, with like mindsets, those wanting to help others, wanting to support others, wanting to be of service. With each class I felt energy that is difficult to put into words. I have already taken 8 classes and gotten an A in each of them-which I am damn proud of. The content drives me to learn more, the papers I am researching and writing (mostly!) don’t feel like work. I am learning more than I could have ever imagined. I have gone from wanting to support working with mostly women to knowing that I can also support teens and adolescents-a direction I couldn’t have imagined a year ago.

During this time, I have taken a break from working with clients, and now I am more ready than ever to work with people 1:1. While I finish the last year or so of my degree and obtain licensure, I will also be working as a Therapeutic Coach, a partner as you tackle some of life’s more challenging moments; An opportunity for someone to listen compassionately and empathically to your hopes and dreams and help you to make them your reality. If this sounds like something that might be of interest to you, reach out and let’s talk about how I can support you.

I will be working to create a welcoming environment of sharing and supporting each other. I will be sharing tips and tricks to build momentum. I will ask you to share some things that have worked for you, and things that you are struggling with, so that we can all work on growing and supporting each other along the way.

I would love to hear what you have been up to. Have you changed jobs? Have you found a new passion? Do you have any exciting plans coming up? Let’s hear it, and let’s celebrate each other.

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