I’ve been thinking a lot about my future recently… which is kind of weird for me. In particular, I’ve been thinking about my age and whether I can still accomplish the things I want to. We live in a culture where people are encouraged to be on a certain track by time they hit the age 30 and it is odd for people to redirect their education or careers after that point. I am 34, and for all intents and purposes I won’t be able to formally start on a new educational or career until I am about 40. My basic plan right now is to go back to school to become a therapist, I want to either be a counselor for people in “non traditional relationships” (for lack of a better term) such as polyamorous groups, open relationships, and maybe LGBT relationships. Either that or I want to be on the research side looking at paraphilias or the use of MDMA in counseling. So, will that be too old to start down that route?

Let’s run the numbers….

I’ll be 36 when the bike adventure ends. After that we plan on stopping for a few years in a city to do things that require a stable location… home brewing, gardening, chickens, etc. I’m not sure what city that will be yet but it will be cheap and awesome. So, during those years I will need to pay off my $65,000 in student loans before starting school again. I figure there are a few ways to do that:

  • I can get a full-time job somewhere to supplement my current part-time job. If I keep my cost-of-living at about $12,000 per year (which should be easy enough) then all my second job will go to paying off student loans. If I find an $8/hr job it will take me about 5.5 years of constant work to pay off my student loans. That would suck…
    ($8/hr * 40 hours a week * 52 weeks * .75 for taxes * 5.5 years = $68,640). Of course, if I found a full-time job that paid more this would speed up the process.
  • Instead of focusing on a shitty full-time job I can try and create something (or several things) that will make me $65,000. I have a few ideas that I think could reasonably net me $5,000 – $10,000 each, and maybe one of them could really take off and cover the whole thing. In the grand scheme of things $65k isn’t that much. This is clearly the riskier approach and would require the most amount of discipline
  • I could also do some combination of those two. Maybe work part time somewhere and work on my side projects as well. On the surface this seems to be a good balance between the two, but I also think this would be very difficult for me. Having any job outside the home means I am mentally drained a lot. I don’t know if I have the discipline for this middle road

So, even if I get all my shit paid off by 40, is it still worth going to school for a degree? Sure. 40 may seem kind of old but it is still possible for me to get the proper certification to set up my own practice by 43 and then spend 20+ years continuing my education and running a practice. I feel like there are a lot of fields that could be integrated into therapy in a way that is beneficial to clients, including meditation, yoga, MDMA, hypnotherapy, sexology, massage therapy, dance, sex surrogacy, etc. Those sub-specialties can be added after I get certified.

After all this thought and analysis about age and how I am going to move forward in life I come to the same conclusion that my gut always comes to… fuck social norms and I should just do what I want. Though, I do wonder if schools will accept me into their programs after a certain age and whether having a decade between schools will hurt my chances, though I will likely need to attend some community college courses to brush up on the field anyway.

2 thoughts on “Age

  1. Hey Peter – I had a professor in grad school who went to get her Ph.D. at age 45 after a career as a flight attendant and after raising a family. It can definitely be done and I think your background will make you a much better therapist than if you’d gone in your 20s or early 30s. Just saying!

    • 🙂 That’s really inspiring to hear. I’m not truly worried about this, but it is nice to hear that I’m not the only one who delayed education into my late 30’s and 40’s. I think my experiences will definitely make me more prepared to be therapist than when I was 25 or fresh out of undergrad.

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