Sorry for taking so long to get back to you - I've been traveling in areas where I have a lot of family, so I've been traveling and visiting what seems like nonstop for a few weeks now. Additionally, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with some important decisions coming my way regarding career, school, exercise, and my own mental health. I decided to give myself some time to shut out the noise and really feel what it is that I want to do.
Essentially, I've come to the conclusion that I will NOT be doing anything - ANYTHING - that sucks.
The general narrative is that some things - school and exercise, especially - are inherently, unavoidably sucky. Excuse me, but fuck that. I've been avoiding those two things because of that narrative, and I'm done with it. There's got to be a way to make these things fulfilling and enjoyable, and I'll be damned if I'm going to do it any other way. So, of course, the scary part is figuring out a new way of doing / thinking about these things so that a) they won't suck, and b) they are part of the flow of my life.
This brings me to Kung Fu. I have both loved and been greatly fearful of my Kung Fu classes. At first I thought it was just nerves; starting something new can be scary, and being bad at something is part of getting good at something and that whole thing. While fear is often something to be pushed through, it is just as frequently a messenger, and in this case the level of fear and anxiety was telling me that I'm not ready for these classes. I asked a professional trainer for her advice, and she agreed with my assessment.
It was incredibly difficult to cancel my classes, and this brought up some pretty painful stuff from my history that had to be worked through.Without going into too much detail, I'd managed to anxiety hop my way from feeling like a failure at the Kung Fu classes to dredging up a lot of guilt about some decisions I'd made in the service of my own self-care. When I need time to myself to work things out in my head, I feel guilty about taking time from my friends and family. When I decide that I cannot be around my father or my ex step dad, I feel guilt about hurting my father's feelings, or hurting my sister because I can't be around her dad, since it limits my attendance at family gatherings.
It turns out that taking care of myself, finding joy, and avoiding things that suck aren't just what's best for me, they are what's best for the people around me. I don't have to disguise my anxiety about certain situations, I don't have to agree to the un-agreeable, and I can choose which fears to push through, and which to honor. I'm sure a lot of this seems basic stuff, stuff that a 36 year old woman would have figured out by now, but it is a revelation to me, and I am so grateful that, even though late, I've learned these lessons at all.
...a few months down the road and I am still feeling a little (though slightly less) anxious about what to do with my life. As with most things, it comes down to money and time. I'd love to say that it's worth whatever debt I'd get into to become exactly what I want to be; however, a) career-wise, I feel spectacularly passionate about exactly nothing, and b) I've had a sneaking suspicion that the careers in which I'd excel would underpay me at exactly the same rate in which I am currently being underpaid. Putting myself into significant debt for something I'm not passionate about and would reap little or no financial benefit seems like a bad idea.
However, I have another sneaking suspicion that going to school and getting a degree will be rewarding in ways that I haven't yet figured out, and I can visualize the future opening up in ways I haven't anticipated. I've always had the feeling that I'd be a late bloomer, at least compared to my sisters, who have had specific career choices / goals in mind from the get-go. While I genuinely enjoy the training that I do, it is not enough, and I think I'm almost there about figuring out what would be enough.
For shits and giggles I took an online career quiz, with results listed below:
1,2,6, & 10 are careers to which I've already given serious consideration, so it's good that I've been on the right path, at least kind of. I wish I could be more clear about my next steps, but when I know, you'll know. :)