How do you start over at 35?
January 9, 2011 10:26 AM Subscribe
Question: Trying to rebuild after leaving an abusive relationship; how can I recover my lost sense of self, while facing a competitive job market?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Am afraid of risking time and money on unrealistic choices that might add to an extensive repertoire of crappy experiences. Not sure I won't crumble, faced with the long haul involved in finding worthwhile work. Need short-term, affirming experiences, and a plan.
This past year:
- left a five-year, cohabitating relationship with an alchoholic subject to rages. Working life was restricted by visas and constant emotional exhaustion.
- was laid off. Work history has been demoralizing and deskilling, best described as 'non-profit admin'. Can't face more of the same. Unemployed 6 months.
- made a transatlantic move back to my hometown; currently staying with family and caring for an aging parent. Struggling to rebuild old friendships.
- dealt with depression, anxiety, agoraphobia; lifelong underachievement and academic failure; perfectionism and ADHD traits. (First clause is no longer a live issue - if anything, I've got a strong impulse to make the most of my life and am more relaxed than ever.)
Am in my mid-thirties. I accept that starting 'fresh' means accepting challenges, but starting in the mailroom might be more than I can bear. Also, in many ways, I'm just getting to know myself again.
Am torn between 1) picking up unrealized ambitions (the dream was a PhD in cognitive science), 2) committing to a newly discovered art form which gives me great pleasure, and 3) pursuing a career that has market value and a shorter lead time to income generation (social work or occupational therapy; also have some experience in 'communications officer' work).
1) is complicated by a spotty record and a loss of intellectual confidence (and relative poverty). But *loved* CS. 2) is cathartic, absorbing, motivating. Have been encouraged to pursue it by peers and mentors, but am sure it means poverty. 3) would tap into some of my natural skills, but am concerned I'm a good candidate for burnout.
Which of these paths makes the most sense - from both psychic and economic PsOV?
Any ideas around how I can maintain self-respect, and stay open, when starting from the bottom?
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