At the crossroads

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I need to write. I need advice. As you know I was recently fired from my job. I didn’t really like my job, but it was okay. I would have continued with it. I liked my coworkers, and I felt like I was handling my responsibilities fairly well (though I guess not). Now that I am unemployed, however, the idea really appeals to me to find a whole new line of work. While I do have a BA in a English, this doesn’t really qualify me for any specific job. I end up with stupid dead end jobs where I can’t seem to get ahead. I am considering the prospect of going back to school. I am thinking of becoming a paralegal. I desperately need some input. I just want to get all my feelings out there, so please forgive me if this seems like a mass of word vomit…

Here are my issues:

I’m 40, if I decided to start school, by the time I started I’d be 41. By the time I finished I’d be 43. That freaks me out. In that time I’m not sure if I would have any kind of income.

The reason I would consider going back to school is to become self sufficient; something that I have never achieved in my lifetime. I’ve always lived with my mother or my husband. For a woman, to be able stand on her own two feet without help from another is crucial. I know this. As a paralegal, I feel I’d finally be able to achieve that. And then I have to ask myself: for what? So big freaking deal, I get to be some self-sufficient old maid. I can have a job where I can provide myself with a roof over my head, a car to drive … why? So I can come home after a long day to my empty place where l can eat a tuna sandwich in front of the TV? What kind of crap is that? Work. Food. TV. Bed. Repeat. That’s not really what I wanted either.

In essence, I would be creating a life for myself which allows for my survival, but it is just soooooo far away from my dream.  I want to live, not survive. My dream was to be a housewife. I wanted to have a relationship with a man that I loved and admired, someone who was my best friend. I wanted to keep a beautiful home, cook delicious meals, and create an amazing life together full of lots of wonderful adventures. This is what makes me happy. Going back to school for me is kind of like an admission that I failed at my dream, and have to go with a Plan B.

My greatest fear is that I will never again know what if feels like to be loved. I hate the idea that I am having to prepare myself for a life alone.  Yes, there’s Birdy, but I am not trying to fool you or myself. This is a new relationship. Birdy is excellent beyond words, but I don’t know he feels about me. He is a busy man, and I’m just not sure where I fit into his life. He isn’t terribly demonstrative with his emotions, and that makes it hard to know where I stand. It’s for the best I guess, letting things happen slowly. I’d rather he is honest than feeding me a bunch of lines that he doesn’t mean (like my exes).

Birdy’s last girlfriend was in her 20s. Dr ManWhore’s mistress/girlfriend was in her 20s too. I can’t compete with that sh*t. It is both shocking and scary to look in the mirror and see myself growing older. Men want pretty young women. A good heart and shiny soul…. meh, that’s so secondary to them. Personality is important to a man, but it comes AFTER attraction. I look good for my age, but those are the key words: for my age. How much longer will I be able to turn a man’s head? Botox will only get me so far.

Reading that last paragraph back to myself, I think I answered the question that self sufficiency is absolutely necessary (even though it sounds positively joyless to me). I must kill the idea of a man coming to my rescue. I have to learn that the only person I can really count on is myself — writing that down makes me feel very sad though. It sounds lonely and frightening. How do I reconcile this?

What do you think? Please, I need your honesty.  Is going back to school a good idea? Am I even capable of it at this point in my life? What about the fact that I might have no income during that time (my unemployment is only going to last for three months)? Should I just look for another job and see what I can get, or should I go back to school and switch career paths? Is going back to school proof that I failed to achieve my dream? If so, should I just suck it up and cut my losses?

26 Comments

  1. All my life my goal was to be able to provide for myself and never need a man. I have a degree in engineering and make good money so I am probably not the best advice giver since we are on the different ends of the spectrum but I will say that the sense of freedom and accomplishment that I feel is so amazing. It might be scary but I think going back to school would give you a purpose and a new outlook but you need to figure out if the cost of school is worth the money for what you will make as a paralegal vs trying to enter a different field using just your English degree. As you can tell my writing skills are not great. lol also, I never thought I would find a guy who was perfect for me but I did, when I least expected it. Your Prince Charming is out there so don’t try to force something

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for the advice. I don’t know why my mindset is so strong on a relationship. I don’t think it’s too healthy. My next step is finding out what this degree is going to cost me. I’ve been putting most of my paycheck aside, so I have a good bit saved ☺️

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    2. I read an article once that said basically said you can be 65 or you can be 65 and a doctor what’s the difference? I went back to school as an adult (at 32 not 40 but not too far apart) and used student loans and a part time job to finance my living (including 2 toddlers but I did receive food stamps and child care assistance) until I graduated it can be done and it’s just a few years PLUS you meet lots of new people and experience lots of NEW things and are exposed to more

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  2. Going back to school sounds to me like a REFUSAL to give up on your dreams. You want a life, not an existence.
    Settling for second rate jobs is joyless. Practical perhaps, but joyless.
    Why a paralegal? Is there anything else which floats your boat more?
    YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU WILL DO THIS.
    Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We could talk all day about this.

    1 – Always have a way to land on your feet. Independence and confidence go hand in hand. Not saying it means go back to school but have something that’s yours so that you never worry about not having something to fall back on.

    2 – You are not destined to be alone and miserable. At all. Stop that silliness. 😘

    3 – Your self confidence has taken a beating. It’s going to take some time to get that squared away.

    I have so much more to say to you but I’m going to email you. Xoxoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank u ❤️
      Honestly I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so afraid of everything. I have no confidence, and I second guess every little thing. Everyone seems to think school is the right step for me, it probably is. I just don’t feel sure about anything anymore.
      It’s like I told you yesterday, I am so good at building up others, but I am never able to do it for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Caroline
    First time posting here. Very interesting blog too.

    I vote for going back to school. Two years is nothing. It will go so fast. I think paralegal is a wonderful choice.

    OK biggest regret, absolutely positively being a SAHM. I was all those things you said you wanted. Well that and $1.50 will get me cup of coffee at McDonalds!! I’m not saying staying home and being a homemaker/mother is not important, it is. But once all that is over you are left with nothing and it’s over in about 15 years. One has to support themselves whether they are married or not. It is VERY unwise to depend on someone else for that financial support. Not only for one’s financial well being but emotionally as well.

    Biggest personal achievement–going back to University when my children were in school and getting my undergraduate degree. It was long and it was hard. But I got a double major in 5 years of school. Even made the deans list a couple times. So I am very much in the “go back to school” camp.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your advice 😃 and so happy that you decided to comment. I know you are right. I am heavily leaning towards going back with all the feedback I am getting from everyone.

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  5. Barring any unfortunate events you are going to turn 43 whether you go back to school or not. That’s what my BFF finally told herself when she went back to become a chiropractor. Granted, she was not yet 30 when she did this, but the message is the same. Yes, you’ll be 43 when you finish getting your second degree (or Masters) but you’re going to be 43 regardless. The only question is whether you’ll still have an English degree and are potentially working dead end jobs, or if you’ll be heading in a completely different direction with a different degree.

    I’m right in this boat with you so I can sympathize. I just turned 47 and I have a degree in communications that I’ve never used. I thought I wanted to go back to school to get my Masters in social work so I worked with troubled kids when I met and married my husband. Then we began moving all over and we both agreed to have a SAHP (me) when we had kids so I worked secretarial and administrative type jobs for a few years. Long story short I’ve been out of the regular workforce for over 17 years and haven’t had a job for over 15. I keep being told I should go back to school, too, but my question is always what do I want to do? I’ve thought about nursing, accounting and teaching. I’ve also considered going back and getting my Masters in something, anything that would pay well. I’m pretty much at the point where I don’t care if I like the job or not so long as it pays well. I figure if I go back to school I won’t be re-entering the work place until I’m near 50 so that should be a lot of fun!

    Like you I really wanted to be a wife and mom and I got that wish fulfilled for 20 years. Unfortunately it was probably the biggest mistake of my life because here I sit, depending on that support check and crossing my fingers that when the permanent support comes through that I’m getting just as much as I am now. I also know that ultimately I can’t depend on a man to support me. I don’t want to depend on that. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m going to make CF pay as much as for as long as I possibly can… but I want to be able to accomplish something on my own as well. If he has the mental breakdown that I think he’s going to have when his fantasy life falls apart I’m going to need a paycheck of my own.

    The best advice I can give is to do your research. See what kind of jobs are available and what you might enjoy doing. Compare how much the new degree is going to cost against the kind of money you’ll make. And finally, don’t put all of your hopes and dreams onto finding a man and having a relationship. It’s wonderful to be in a good relationship (or so I’ve heard) but I think it’s important be able to live a fulfilling, enjoyable life without having a partner, too. To put it another way, when you are already happy with your life- you have friends, you have hobbies, you have a job you like, you have a full social life (if that’s important to you) then having a relationship becomes another facet of a rich and rewarding life instead of you depending on the relationship to make yourself happy. You often hear that you find love when you least expect it. I’ve also heard you’ll get pregnant when you are no longer trying. I believe though that it’s not so much that you’re not looking for love or trying to get pregnant. It’s more that you are no longer focused on that; it’s not an all consuming pursuit. You are enjoying life as it is and not as you want it to be. When that new love walks into your life he is complementing it, not dominating it. Does that make any sense? I know I’m rambling. I can’t seem to find the correct words.

    Sorry this got so long. I really do feel for you; I could have written this entire post. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for the great advice. It makes me happy at least that although I’m in this not so pleasant boat, there are also wonderful ladies like yourself on it, and I couldn’t wish for better company. I guess I have quite a bit of research to do!
      Yeah, depending on a man too much is what got me into this boat, now it’s time to get out. ❤️

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  6. As someone who went back as a ‘mature student’ I can tell you now gifting yourself education and knowledge with the view to supporting yourself is a absolute gift. But why paralegal?! It makes my mind yawn!! You clearly have so many interests, art and food being the most obvious two, if you’re going to take the plunge why not create a career for yourself that won’t just provide you with a way to survive, but a way to thrive also, ideally something that should do more than just allow you a fine line in tuna sandwiches! You’ve glimpsed behind the gilded curtain of being married, you know you’re good at it. Your ex-husband not so much. Why not turn your hand to creating a wonderful existence for yourself? Who knows where it will lead and to whom. I suspect you know in your heart of hearts that losing your job was a funny blessing, its daunting standing on the precipice of a complete change in direction, but you got this. Be brave!! (Sermon over and out!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. **Is going back to school a good idea? Am I even capable of it at this point in my life**

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    ANYTHING is possible.

    I went back at 41 & it was one of my greatest accomplishments.

    You can do it. You DO NOT need a man to complete you.

    This is not your destiny at the moment.

    Stop fighting the waves. Go with the current. Believe in YOURSELF.

    You are capable of changing the world.

    x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, you know my story about going back to uni. I went back at 45. I am 48 soon, finished my undergrad degree last year, in an academic field, and now doing my Masters. I love it. I hate it. It scares me every day. But yeah, apparently I am good at this shit, and I have made the Dean’s List every year I have been back, am a member of an international honour society, and scored a couple of great scholarships along the way. Now, I am not saying this is how every mature student will find the journey, I certainly didn’t see it that way when I tentatively enrolled. Just passing, and doing your very best, that is the aim, and it gives such an ego boost when you do. But, along the way, I found something that has helped me, something I am good at, and something that has quite literally kept me alive at times.

    I grew up in the 80s. In my country, we had very big advertising campaigns for much of that period telling us that “Girls Can Do Anything.” I never thought I would do anything less than a profession. I was bright, well-adjusted and ambitious. However, I fell off that wagon, and into the career that my partner had. I worked approximately the same hours as him, I had supposedly “equal say” in our business, and had babies, fed babies, read to babies, bathed babies, cooked, cleaned, and did all of the financial planning and bookkeeping. I never received a “salary” for any of it. I just talked a lot to him, we agreed that of course we were equal partners, and that we were good together and if anything bad should ever happen, we would ensure the other was left okay. Unfortunately, I trusted his word, and when it came out that he had been cheating on me, I was furious … with myself! I was an independent, free-thinking woman and I had painted myself into a corner! Although we have good property laws to protect partners in the event of divorce/separation, we had also set our businesses up under the umbrella of a Family Trust. I knowingly agreed to all of this. It means that all our assets are owned not by ourselves, but by this trust. I am not a beneficiary of said trust. In fact, I wasn’t even a trustee! And I legally owned NO shares in the business we had operated together for more than twenty years. D’oh! I had become everything I despised – a vulnerable and under-qualified woman who had sacrificed my independence to be a good partner and mother. Luckily, we have managed to rectify most of it, and all is okay, but if he hadn’t been remorseful, if he had been a bastard, he could have walked away and left me with nothing, even manipulating income to mean very little child support.

    I guess the point of this is to say, I don’t understand why any woman would not want to be self sufficient, and if paralegal is your thing, you have done the research and it is totally an employable thing in the future for you, go for it, caroline. Everyone needs the reality of being able to provide for themselves, it is necessary. Even if it isn’t a total dream job. Don’t ever bend who you are for a man, don’t ever put yourself back in that vulnerable box. Please! And be aware that although you may have a ton of doubts (guess, what, we all do!) always pretend you have this on the outside to the general public! Fake it until you make it dahling!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this. I’m still very confused. I know I can’t count on a man, I realize that more and more. It disheartens me, but I know it’s fact, so don’t worry, I won’t. I don’t really want to go back to school, I’d rather work. The problem is that I need to make a certain amount to be self sufficient and im not sure if I can do that without going back to school. I did very well in school, like you I’m an academic. I graduated in the top 1%, but it was not without LOTs of hard work. I have to do something though. I find that I really need structure otherwise I feel very aimless and then I start getting anxiety. It’s not nice. I’m going to work on my resume today. I’ve been holding it off long enough.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I know you will figure out the right thing for you. But during that journey, be sure and be kind to yourself. We all struggle. We all have doubts. Many of us are scared, of things, every day. Be proud of the decisions you make, all along the way! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I wish I was there with you. We could talk all night, because you know, you don’t have a job and I can pretend like I don’t have a job. 😉

        I find that when I read a good book of fiction, I immerse myself in the characters and forget about my own life troubles. But, I’m sure you already tried that. Maybe read something set in New Orleans… it is a magical place. Sweet dreams, C. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am so looking forward to New Orleans. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go book my airfare next.

        So, I am reading four different books right now, but haven’t spent any particular time on any of them… the Andre Agassi autobiography; the memoir, Empty Mansions (interesting, but I seem to have misplaced it); a sort of clinical psychology book recommended by another blogger called Games People Play; and lastly, a book of fiction called The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. I am a couple hundred pages in on that one and it is interesting if not exactly a page turner yet. I kind of prefer books with a bit of mystery, so probably why I am reading four books right now and not really compelled to sit and finish any one of them in one sitting. I also have the second Rob Lowe book sitting around here somewhere… I loved the first one. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Last book I read was called the Boston Girl. It was very sweet. It reminded me so much of my grandmother’s stories (though she is from NY). I need to get to the library and find something I can really get lost in. Reading for me is an even better form of escapism than tv ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, because we can picture the characters in our own mind without the filter of someone else’s ideas of how things should be or look getting in the way. Books are amazing although I can multi-task with TV, so I like it too!

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