I had my first mid-life crisis when I was in my early thirties. After ten years of working my socks off, I realised that going home in tears every night was not healthy. And what was worse, I was not even achieving anything. What a waste of a life.
I spent several sessions with a careers counsellor. This was one of the most positive and liberating experiences I have had. I learned that I wanted to help others to grow and develop, and I realised I had been supressing my creative instincts and abilities for years.
I got a job as a management development consultant, coaching managers and teams to be the best they can be. I studied for my MA in Management Learning with Lancaster University. I took watercolour classes and started working through Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. But although I loved the work that I did, my company continued to frustrate me and I couldn’t do my best work.
The opportunity to take redundancy came up, so I grabbed it with both hands. I enrolled in college, studying art and design which was completely new to me. I continued to coach friends and ex-colleagues, and they told me I had a gift for this and should do more. I started to write, and have completed several writing courses.
I’ve realised that I need a portfolio-career. I have also realised that I make my career up as I go along. I suspect most of us do; we just don’t realise how we can turn this to our best advantage and create a life that fits us like a favourite pair of PJs.
Carole I have the original Betty Edwards book, and it really amazed me with its power … my husband now paints regularly having started with the book`s exercises. He has recently gone from watercolour to oils and I have purchased the Portfolio with colour book from the website for a present for him – so thank you, I didn`t realise how far this movement progressed.
Sounds like a lovely present.
Carole, I wish I’d come across your blog last year! I’ve had a similar experience (also having started done Betty Edwards at 32) and have now given up being a research scientist and am doing an art foundation course. I too think I need a portfolio career – might be calling on you for advice when my course starts coming to and end.
Have a look at my story (follow the profile links on my blog). Thanks for the inspiration and good luck for the future!