I've spent most of my twenties trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I know technically I have a full-time job as an illustrator (at the moment) but the financial instability that comes with it makes me break out into a cold sweat at least once a week. Somehow at the end of each month I still manage to pay all my bills and buy food (and dresses) but the fluctuations in daily income make me physically ill sometimes. I'm always wondering if today will be the last day I ever make a sale... if things will suddenly come to a screeching halt and I'll be left without a career, a job, or any reliable income.
My dad has owned his own business since before I was born. His father owned his own car radio business and my dad's maternal grandfather owned his own furniture shop. Being a small business owner runs in my blood, and for a long time I never even considered an alternative. Growing up, I was going to be an "artist" and nothing else. A real job wasn't even an option.
I see now, though, that the stress I'm feeling at 26 is still plaguing my dad at 60. I've known for a while that this is not going to be how I spend my whole life, but I've never been able to think of a better alternative. Earlier this year I thought I'd just get a job, not a new career. I went for a group interview at an ice cream parlor along with five other applicants. They were all still in high school. One of the questions at the interview was "where do you see yourself in 10 years?" While they all pondered what the future would look like when they were in their mid-twenties, I was thinking about where I'd be in my late thirties. LATE THIRTIES!?
I obviously don't want to be dishing out ice cream with people young enough to be my children. But I also don't want to be making ends meet in a job that could cave out from under me at any given minute. I started giving serious thought to going back to school and starting a new career. But what?! It always seemed like I was horrendously unqualified for every field that interested me (hi there, astronomy!) And then suddenly, it dawned on me... my ideal career. I have NO idea why this never occurred to me before, because it is literally perfect.
I'm going to go back to school to get a degree in elementary education so that I can be an art teacher. I know it's not a job market swimming with openings, but I can be patient. I just know deep down that this is the ideal choice for me, and this might sound corny but I feel so much peace now. It's like I've spent the last six years searching for something and I finally found it.
Part of me is a little sad that I didn't realize this until I was 26, though. I know a lot of people don't "find their calling" until they're older, but it's definitely sad to realize what you've missed out on. But I'm ridiculously excited about going back to school and starting this new adventure! I can't even tell you guys just how HAPPY this has made me. I'm just so happy.