‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ everyone would ask when I was a child, a teenager, a young adult.
The answer differed as I grew up. A doctor, a singer, an actress, a teacher, a psychologist, a travel writer.
And when I grew up, I became none of these. I’m not even sure what I became.
A year ago I quit my office job, I left the UK, got a CELTA, taught English in Italy for a year and now I’m back home to Cyprus after 10 years and I have no clue what to do next. It’s exciting, in theory I can do anything but I’m mostly terrified and worried I’m too old, I’ll run out of money and end up nowhere.
We were brought up to believe that by the time we hit 30 we would have tried a few different jobs and settled on a career and be happy with that one dream job, or at least be happy enough to stay in a job indefinitely.
But a single career path is not for everyone and not always the case. A lot of successful people in pretty much every field changed careers when they were older and wiser or kept changing careers or juggled more than one jobs until they died.
What do I want to be now I grew up?
I’m one of those people. Not a successful one, not yet anyway but there’s so many paths I’d like to follow but it’s impossible to try them all and even harder to stick to one or two.
Some are technically, and by technically I mean financially, not possible. One of the occupations I always wanted to go into was counselling. But I can’t afford another qualification. I can’t even ask for a loan as I’m now back to Cyprus and all the excellent credit score I built up for years in the UK won’t help me much here. Do I even want to have a debt?
Should I continue with EFL teaching? I could but my first year though rewarding, was exhausting and had zero time for myself, my friends or to travel. And should I risk going to another country and end up locked inside teaching online because of this pandemic’s unpredictable course?
I could become a writer. The idea of writing a fantasy/crime novel always excited me or a raw honest non-fiction on how society, social status and let’s face it wealth (or perhaps lack of) can and has for generations embedded a deep fear of failure especially in women. It’s always tougher for a woman, let alone one with no savings or family money to have ambitions and not let disappointment take over.
I sadly not only realised that for myself (after years of deep self-exploration) but I see it in dear friends and family who are better in what they do than others who might have become famous or run their own business but they are too shy or lack the confidence to ask or go for more.
That’s why the majority of politicians, business owners, celebrities and so on come from wealthy or at least upper-middle class families with connections and financial support making it easier to succeed.
I should believe in myself more, but at the moment I am crippled by my own insecurities and fears.
So what do I know about myself when it comes to my next career step now that I’m on those crossroads?
I don’t want to be stuck in an office 9-5, I’d love to travel and most importantly I’d be over the moon if what I do for a living helps others in any way.
Unfortunately volunteering doesn’t pay and living with my parents after 10 years living on my own is tough. I need my own space to keep growing and figure out what to do next.
For now, I’ll keep pushing myself to do more, trust myself and try not to stress about money and work and in the meantime if you have any personal inspirational stories or any piece of advice, please do share!