I had a early crisis in my life and solved it by sticking to my goals for life. I come from a middle class family which valued education and from an early age I was reminded of the value of a University education.
At the age of 15 my high school education required a vocation planning class. We were required to come up with a plan for our life's work and write a paper on how to attain our goal etc.
I chose dentistry and gathered all the information of what I would need to become a dentist. Medicine was a close second but the education took 2 years more and there were internships etc to contend with. I picked my job because I could do it anywhere in the world and be my own boss.
Graduated from high school just as the Vietnam war started and found that many were in college just to avoid the draft. I was actually interested in joining the military to help pay off my debts and get some experience in my field. I received my draft notice the same day I graduated from dental school but the army had all the dentists they needed and a law prevents the drafting of health care professionals and not using them in their field.
My plan had always been to quit working at age 30 and take two years off to find out what I really wanted to do in life. As that age neared I began to have some doubts and fears especially a fear of not fulfilling my plan. I was newly married and we sold all our posessions except a very few and the house and my dental practice and left in Sept 1974 with two airline tickets with 39 stops.
We travelled west and thus enjoyed three summers.
I have never regretted this two year hiatus especially now since some of my favorite places Afghanistan,the Middle East, Indonesia etc are not exactly for independent travellers now.
I have recently had another crisis and have survived it by quitting my job and becoming single again.
After a few years I now have a new wife and we have a 1.5 year old baby girl.
So I have it all albeit in somewhat unusual order. My advice is choose what you want to do and than how to accomplish it best is always to love your job, I loved mine because it allowed me to accomplish my goal to see the world and experience new cultures longer term. I have one regret, in 1975 I was offered a locum tenens in South Africa I would have taken over a dentist's practice lived in his house and made a really good living for 9 months but it just seemed overwhelming to do all the arrangements. I returned to a good profession and have continued to travel and now do volunteer dentistry in far off locations for three or four months a year. Will resume this plan when Diana is a bit older.
I am 68 years old.
Persue your dream and do what is necessary. At least if you don't follow the ruts you won't be sent to war.
posted 2 years, 4 months ago
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