Do you think you’re too old to be going back to school or starting a new career?
Contrary to popular belief, aging is a privilege. Elders in Native American culture bear the most fruitful knowledge to be passed down to generations. “Xiao” means filial piety in Chinese. Filial piety is the most fundamental Confucian teaching that respect and reverence of the senior member in a relationship is the root of humanity. In Greece, the word Geronda means “old man“. This highly respected title is not meant in the derogatory westernized view that we so often hold. In fact, Gerondas are known as “contemporary prophets” who are highly sought by people for rescinding of fears and relaying of a positive, futuristic outlook.
So, why is it that we associate aging with a grim worldview for ourselves?
American culture is obsessed with anti-aging serums and elixirs to diminish the pinnacle of getting older.
The infatuation with the fountain of youth has become the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to.
Aaliyah sang ‘age ain’t nothin but a number’ and those lyrics echo my sentiments exactly. We’ve become so accustomed to the concept of the prototypical life plan where you go the college, graduate, find a job, get married with kids and live happily ever after. Nowadays, that trajectory isn’t so smooth and dozens of millennials are college educated, unemployed and using dating apps to no avail. Marriage is on the back burner and it seems like many of us work hard to stay above the water. Unfavorable employment realities create a problem that leaves many people feeling unaccomplished, depressed and stagnant.
Are you considering starting a new career?
Going back to school at 30?
Going back to school at 40 ? +
Let’s also remember that college isn’t the only way to be gainfully employed. There are many successful people who have never graduated from college, but I’ll defer that conversation for another post.
My point is that age is literally a number. It is a number that tells gives you a chronological journey of your life. It does not define your effort, worth or integrity. It is not a sentence that tells you to close the book, throw in the towel or eerily, bury the casket.
I decided at 24 years old (almost 30!) to become a doctor and I am determined to do just that. From start to finish I have 6.5 years minimum left to be a fully independent practicing physician. Admittedly so, I was concerned about my biological clock. I calculated the age of completion and had reservations about continuing in my path. I was concerned about being too old to have children and get married. The truth is, that is the least of my worries. These are all important things to factor in, but I realize that I was allowing hypothetical conditions to impose on my current task at hand.
I truly believe that when you follow your heart and complete your self duties, everything else will fall into place.
Benefits of Going Back to School
So, no matter if you are single, married and or have kids, your means of livelihood takes precedent.
I am at least 3 years older than 50% of my classmates. Initially, this made me feel behind or delayed in my timeline of adulthood. I had to realize that I was comparing myself to others and my timeline was my own. Working in dentistry as an allied health professional gave me the professional maturity and extensive patient interactive experience. During our standardized patient exams at school, I feel the most confident because I’ve seen over 10,000 patients in my lifetime and have nursed them back to health. This invaluable experience is one I owe to being a non-traditional student. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Sit back and think about what skills and experiences you bring to the table that your younger counterparts could learn from you. Even if it is your social media acumen, writing skills, artistry, and general life experience which comes inevitably as you age. This is something you can’t buy, rapidly learn or imitate, even if you tried. This is not the fake ID you used to enter a nightclub, but in fact, it is the badge of honor you wear because you have lived through experiences that have molded you into the person you are today.
Your Dream Career Awaits
If you feel so impassioned to pursue a different career or finally step out on a leap and chase your seemingly incongruous goals, now is the time.
If you are an able-bodied and determined individual, age is simply a figure.
Your hypothetical kids and spouse will await their accomplished family member that chased their dreams to provide them a better quality of life. Your current children and or spouse will understand that your decision is for the betterment of the family. Your fears and doubts will stand abashed while your unyielding ambition runs free.
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Comment below if you are planning on going back to school or starting a new career.