For those of you that are reading from the UK you will know that its back to school next week for most primary and high school students. Every year I love seeing my children get back to school and back into their routine. I also get a little sad. They are one academic year closer to the rest of their lives. I always wonder what they will want to pursue when they’re older, what kind of roles they will take on. I get panicked at times that they won’t be able to make their minds up and that will make them feel a bit lost at such a young age. Some people don’t know what kind of career they want when they’re 14/15 and that’s absolutely fine. But the way the school systems are set up today it is a big ask for young people to know what they want to do with their lives.
I decided at the age of 30 that I wanted to write. Nothing to Hide took me a year to write as it was the first book I’d attempted to write and I had no idea what I was doing. In terms of working towards a career I wanted, the odds were stacked against me. The thought of paving a new path for myself seemed near on impossible, especially considering I didn’t have the freedom to make mistakes as I did when I was 16 and fresh out of school. I have responsibilities and commitments that are too rigid to allow for dramatic flexibility. In all honesty, the thought of the lack of time I’d have was enough to put me off trying.
It got me to thinking, how many people are putting off their own self-development because society or the system or whatever puts us into camps of parent, student, employed and career pursuit. It barely ever shows the overlap between any of these camps at all. I myself, am building a career whilst being a stay at home parent. It’s hard. Since my first book publish towards the end of July I’ve felt like throwing the towel in more times than I’d care to count. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know whether I’d get it right. But I did it anyway. One thing I have been noticing as of late is, there are plenty of examples of successful entrepreneurs sprawled across social media platforms; yet nobody is talking about how difficult this is for people like myself who have juggled or are juggling the development of their children at the same time as their own development.
There is a huge lack of representation and it makes me sad to think of the people out there that have the million dollar ideas and the potential but they shy away from the risk because the community they would fit into is so quiet. We often see clearly the missed opportunities in hindsight. We often see what kind of life we want as we develop our own experiences. It’s all well-and-good for people to advise us to build a life for our children before they actually come along. But sometimes our life path just doesn’t do things in society’s order.
There is a heavy notion that people should build a career, buy a home and settle down in a healthy marriage before children are thrown into the mix. Yes in an ideal world I think anybody would prefer to give their children the best start and a healthy dose of stability. I made do with a job instead of pursuing a career once my son made his way into this world because I knew he needed financial stability and he needed to be provided for. So I Did what I had to do as a parent.
So my question to anybody out there that may have become a parent before they had chance to figure out what they wanted to do and pursue that, or somebody who had to put their plans on hold to care for somebody else, or anybody else who’s life may have derailed for whatever reason; when was the last time you visited your own self-development? If you had the chance to build an empire or career or whatever it is you want before you’ve blinked and it’s been 40 years of the same old jobs, would you do it? Have any of you already built yourself up to where you want to be whilst juggling some of life’s other heavy responsibilities?
I think my worst nightmare would be, to get to a point where my children aren’t as heavily reliant on me (they’re still young) and for me to have nothing to turn my attention to. I need a sense of self and over the past two years of writing and wanting that writing to become something big I’ve realised just how important that is for me. I don’t want to spend the next 40 years in a job that I don’t really enjoy just because it puts food on the table and a roof over our heads. I want my career to be something I enjoy doing, and that I get excited for. I want that spark.
The plan that my husband and I made together was for me to return to work once our youngest had reached the point of full time education (Reception class in primary school). As I’ve taken more time out from working I’ve realised I don’t want to go back to working a job I don’t enjoy only to have it taking me away from my children. I want to do more. I want to be more. And as far as I’m concerned, there is no better example for my children than for them to see me working for what I do want. For them to see its never too late. For them to see that nothing ventured is nothing gained. My youngest is now due to start pre school in January and those 15 hours every week will be the first 15 hours in 5 years that I will have to continuously work on myself and I cannot tell you how excited I am for this. This will be my return to work. And I’m returning to a job that I absolutely love yet never would have thought was for me at the age of 16.
I will be speaking more about this on my YouTube channel as time goes on because I think more people out there need to know that its all possible. My YouTube videos are usually fed through to my vlog here. For now though, let me know in the comments your thoughts on self-development for people who are late to the party.