What if at almost 36 years of age you are finally starting to get a vague idea of what you might want to be when you grow up, and a conversation with a friend gets you thinking about what it might take to change paths altogether? What if the things you might want to learn and do involve giant vats of both money and time, neither of which you have to spare? What if it would take a massive, terrifying effort simply to fulfill the prerequisites for an exercise/wellness degree, never mind the curriculum itself, which involves, like, science? What if it seemed absolutely one hundred percent impossible, that you’d never be able to afford it or somehow shoehorn it into a life that is already packed to capacity with family and work and everything else?

What would you do?

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Jenny
Jenny
12 years ago

Well, I’ve been thinking for a while now that you’d make a pretty awesome trainer, so while you may have just realized it, I’ve known it for a while :)

As far as what would I do, I wouldn’t do it, which is a flaw of mine. In all honesty, if I thought I could swing it as a family, I’d give it a good look.

hannah
hannah
12 years ago

Wasn’t it Dear Abby or Ann Landers who always counseled people considering going back to school or what not to think where they’d be in ten years if they DIDN’T do it? You won’t be any less busy down the road. Right?

Shannon
Shannon
12 years ago

I am by no means an expert on life decisions, but in your position I would look at all you’ve accomplished in the last few years…the AMAZING changes you’ve made for yourself…I bet 5 years ago, you might not have believed that you could do all you’ve already done. So applying that thinking going forward, who knows what you can accomplish if you make a plan and set your mind to it.

One thing I think of when making a change that seems scary/impossible, is think if you DON’T do it, where will you be? In the same spot/career? Is that what you want? So NOT doing it isn’t really an option if you look at it that way. You just need a plan. :-)

I have a family member who was a successful manager in the financial world, making good money etc…but felt it wasn’t her calling…At 35, right after getting married, she went back to school nights and got her nursing degree and has never been happier…

JudithinNYC
JudithinNYC
12 years ago

At 32 at barely spoke English, was new to Oregon, had two small kids, no husband, no money. Decided I wanted to go to law school. I did. Graduated 25 yrs ago. It helped that I am crazy.

Jinxi
12 years ago

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. But everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” – Gloria Cubana, The Sheltering Sky

Point for this long quote being, live your dream now. Life’s too short. I know(based on your writings here on this blog) that you make things happen when you put your mind to them, Linda. I have a feeling that you would find a way to accomplish this goal even when the stakes are high and the road is difficult.

I say “Go for it!” You will be so happy in the end.

Winx, Jinxi

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

I’m embarking on a whole change of careers (to nursing from sales) with a 2 1/2 year old and while pregnant with #2. 8 classes of pre-reqs while working full time, and then two years of school. I feel like I’m both crazy and exhilarated.

Melissa
12 years ago

Hold your breath and take the jump. Sounds corny, but it’s been my experience in life that things find a way of working themselves out. The people I admire most in life didn’t get there by living in their comfort zones.

As for what I’d do…well, I’d do it if I could get the support of my husband. But that’s just me.

Danell
Danell
12 years ago

I would do it. I did it. But because I have the attention span of a four year old, I could only focus on the very next step in the process of getting where I wanted to be. In a way, that is helpful, because then the WHOLE GIANT PROCESS didn’t seem too daunting because I was too busy focusing on getting thru, say, calculus. (Seriously, the math? You can do it. Today I cannot add single digits without the assistance of a calculator and another human to ask if I am doing it right-but I managed to pass an entire year of calculus and physics. With a very excellent tutor.)

Julie
Julie
12 years ago

Just do it.

Sharon
Sharon
12 years ago

I’d say go for it. You’ll make it work. Life is short.

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

Linda, I think you can achieve anything you set your mind to. You’ve already demonstrated you are able to conquer your fears, take on new challenges and fulfill your commitments. I also think you would make an exceptional trainer.

Money may seem an obstacle but all you need to do is start on the path – like the running – and you will find yourself making it all happen.

You deserve to fulfill your dreams. Go for it!

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

Well, I had this same conversation with myself over two years ago. Actually more like 4 years ago, but it took me two to finally get off my ass and do what I knew would kick my ass, frustrate me (and my family), exhaust me, exhilarate me, make me proud, challenge me (in a good way) and basically change who I was and my path going forward. I wanted to go back to school and wondered how in God’s name I would manage a full time job, two kids, and a husband who travels. Then, right when I was about to make the right decision, I got pregnant with my baby boy. A SANE persone would have said…now’s not a good time. But not me. I forged ahead anyway. I graduate on February 10, 2010. And I can tell you that it was all the things I thought it would be…but not nearly as severe and I am endlessly proud of myself for making it happen and still managing the rest of my life with pretty good balance. Except sleep, of course. I haven’t slept in two years, but hey – I’ll sleep when I’m dead, right?

Point being….do it. You will NEVER regret it. Just the opposite…you will make it happen with more patience, grace, and pride than you ever expected. Not only will you accomplish the goal of getting your degree, but you will truly show yourself and those around you what you’re made of. DO IT!!

Erin
12 years ago

What if you don’t do it and then in five years you still want to do it so you do and then you think, wow, if only I had listened to myself 5 years ago I would be much further along on this path that I absolutely love.

What is the very first step toward this exciting adventure? I have a friend who owns a fitness business (www.wearesuperfly.net) who would be more than willing to talk to you about the business. Maybe that’s a good first step??

If you get throw up your own roadblocks (age, time money) before you even start, that’s fear talking. Look beyond the fear!

Courtney
12 years ago

What did you tell JB when he made the jump from Microsoft? Go for it!

M
M
12 years ago

I’m a somewhat longtime reader (but have only posted once, in response to one of your Tweets). I’m 38, have a 1-year-old, and am working on a PhD and working full time as an adjunct–after having spent the time it takes to get a PhD in a different PhD program and then quitting. I can’t afford it, am in debt beyond comprehension, am way, way overworked and underpaid, and my husband is on the academic job market for the 3rd year in a row with no idea where we’ll end up. And I cannot imagine it any other way. I get to do what I love (teach college students), study what fascinates me (adult literacy), and spend my lifetime learning. The sacrifices have been and continue to be huge–EVERY month I try to figure out how we are going to make it to the next paycheck, and the future is desperately uncertain. But I know too many people who hate what they do, and that colors every other aspect of their lives. If nothing else, think of the example you’d be setting for your boys by putting yourself and your dreams/goals first–you strike me as someone who would most definitely encourage them to do the same.

So although you have no idea who I am, I think you should go for it.

And by the way, you make me laugh every single day. And I love that.

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

What if as children we were too afraid to walk because we might fall?

I know.. stupid f’n question right? When we were kids we didn’t have kids to depend on us or mortgages or car payments, the list is endless…

But point is..even though we were scared, we were brave.. we wanted it enough and didn’t give up until we succeeded…

LIVE YOUR DREAM…. we only get one chance to do it… it’s not too late!!!

(ok…I’ll follow my own advice too.. I’m exactly where you are (my soul is being ripped away in my current job…)

LET’S BE BRAVE!…baby steps… ready??? Let’s go!

Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

Go for it Linda!

Janssen
12 years ago

I would go for it. I think it will eat away at you the longer you push it off. You can make it work.

And in three years, you’ll be three years older and so will your kids – you might as well have gotten what you want to done.

JennB
12 years ago

Do it. I’m going to start the same path, for an MBA in Project Management. Have to start boning up for the GMATs. Yay. I hope to start the program part-time next fall. ulp!

Dawn
12 years ago

Start working on the prerequisites, see how it goes. You can always decide later that it’s not for you, but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t even try.

AndreAnna
12 years ago

I’m in a similar boat. Not enough time or money to go back to school. So I’m planning on waiting for both kids to be in school full time. It’s only another 5 years and in the grand scheme of thing, I don’t think it’s that long to wait, considering I have a secure career right now.

If I added one more thing, it would send me over the edge I teeter on so carefully. I’d become more tired, more stressed, more easily irritated and I KNOW this about myself. My family doesn’t deserve that from me.

That being said, you’re not me. You’re inspirational and I know you can do anything you put your mind to. Rock out with your um, ponytail out?

NancyJ
NancyJ
12 years ago

Where there’s a will there’s a way….
I’ve been reading you for awhile and I’ve always been in awe of you and really how far you’ve come.
I’m quite certain that once you start it will all fall into place. I think JB will be very supportive and it will just work out.
GO FOR IT!

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

Linda–
I’m on the last two semesters of my PhD degree–and I am 36. Had baby #1 just before, and baby #2 during (they are now 3 yrs and 18 months). It is WORTH it. Even if we are temporarily completely in poverty–living with my parents, on food stamps, struggling each day (yet somehow spending more time with the kids then we would if we were both 8-5ers, I am guessing), and living on an assistantship pittance. But, in the end, it will be worth it for my husband to emerge from a 4 years cocoon with two degrees, two toddlers, and some goddamn sense of accomplishment.

You CAN do it.

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

I mean worth it for “my husband and I.”

Good luck to you!

Philos
12 years ago

You’ve already decided to do it; all this is just working your brain around to seeing the path. I look forward as always to reading about your exploits.

Michelle
12 years ago

What would I do? Well, first I’d celebrate the hell out of the fact that I finally figured out what I’m passionate about in this short little life we have. Then I’d do WHATEVER I COULD to try to make it happen.

What would you tell JB, Riley, or Dylan to do if they were in your position? If the answer is “Go for it!” then I think you know what to do.

Angella
12 years ago

DO IT.

Excited for you, because I know you WILL do it.

Alex
12 years ago

I would go for it. In a heartbeat.

Sara
Sara
12 years ago

You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Start. You’ll figure out the path, and you’ll be KILLER at it.

Ashley
12 years ago

You gave me great advice this morning “start ticking off those prerequisites now”. I just opened this computer to take your advice and dig a little deeper into what I will need. Take your own advice! In my opinion, school loans are good debt. Hell we could go to school together, we can be the old people in the front ;) Either way, you would fucking be an amazing trainer!

Jenn Perryman
Jenn Perryman
12 years ago

I’d look into this program- it’s a 15-credit (5 class) certificate in nutrition and wellness. Credits can be applied to a Bachelors’ degree in Liberal studies, but this would at least be a good way to see if you’re up for online courses. http://www.brandman.edu/academics/programDetails.asp?code=UC.CERT.NW

I work for this college at the Silverdale (Bangor) campus but this program is completely online and each term would be 9 weeks in length, with a 1-week break between terms. You’d have your certificate in a year. I’m going through the masters’ program one course at a time, and I work 40 a week and have a 3-year old. It’s tough, but I think you could certainly do it.

Also- financial aid (in form of subsidized and unsubsidized loans) usually covers tuition if you are admitted, and most everyone I know has qualified.

Here’s a link: http://www.brandman.edu/academics/programDetails.asp?code=UC.CERT.NW

You can email me if you have more questions!

Joanna
Joanna
12 years ago

DO IT! You will make it work, but you won’t know how until you’ve already begun. So exciting!

Nic
Nic
12 years ago

Stop thinking of it as an overwhelming and an impossibility, think of as something that is possible, piece by piece. Are there pre-reqs you can tick off online? What’s the time commitment to do full time or part time school? Fully investigate it and break it down.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

When I was considering going to college at 25, I bemoaned the fact that I would be 30 when I graduated (hahahahaha!). My boyfriend at the time pointed out I would be 30 either way. Sort of like having kids, the time is never “right”. You just jump in and make a lot of sacrifices and do the best you can.

ginger
ginger
12 years ago

You have a whole lot of friends in the computer who are more than happy to help you figure out The Science. If it’s what you want, do it.

ashley
ashley
12 years ago

I think you should go for it. I would try to get part time at your current job, since the commute and time away from your kids is ass- but if you can’t swing that then quit? Live off savings and JB’s salary for a while (you supported his dreams when he quit MS and started his own gig, right?) Study, continue to do as much freelance as you can, make necessary budget cuts at home, and go for it.

Brenna Jensen
12 years ago

One of my very favorite sayings is:

“What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?”

Simplistic, sure, but it shows you where fear is holding you back. and I find that it also helps divide the actual wants/dreams/desires from the random what-ifs that don’t really matter.

And not that the opinion of a random stranger would influence you, but I think you’d be awesome.

Jamie
12 years ago

Didn’t training for a marathon seem impossible? You are capable of doing anything you want to do Linda!

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

I’m sure it would be a huge success, whether you think it would be or not! Myself and all of your readers have seen how you’ve accomplished everything you’ve set out to do, so I say “JUST DO IT!”

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

Linda – you’ve already proven that you can turn your life around. YOU QUIT DRINKING, GIRL. And now you’re training for half marathons. If that’s not changing gears, then I don’t know what is! If you love it, if you believe in it, then you will be able to do it. Just like you are able to say “no” to a drink every day, just like you strap on your running shoes every day.

Anneli
Anneli
12 years ago

Linda’s New Life Plan:

1. write huge best-seller (readers are all waiting for it anyway, will become amazon.com bestseller before it even goes to press)
2. become gazillionaire
3 (a). money not being an object, hire a tutor to help with the sciency stuff and go for the gusto and get that exercise/wellness degree.
3 (b). or, with your amazing newfound wealth, pack up JB and the kids and move to tahiti, where you can be a trainer probably just cuz you are fit and fearless.

penne
12 years ago

Had this same conversation with a friend just yesterday. If you know what you’re supposed to be when you grow up, if you finally KNOW, you have to do it. No matter how old or young you are. I’m waiting for that epiphany, as “fireman-racecar driver-astronaut seems an unlikely choice. Do it. You can. It will all work out. Congratulations! You KNOW!

Dr. Maureen
12 years ago

Didn’t read the other comments, but I’m willing to bet they agree with me when I say go for it. Chip away at it a class at a time. If it takes ten years to get your degree, it takes ten years. You can do it.

Laura
Laura
12 years ago

I want to be a cheerleader for you, I do, because I think you can accomplish anything you set your mind to do. I guess my words of advice are: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Here’s my story:

I have 2 children, aged 2 and 4. I work from home, running my husband’s electrical contracting business. Last year, I decided to go to law school. I only made it one month. The demands of law school were extremely intense, and during that one month, I never saw my children. Maybe if I would have stuck it out, I would have learned to manage my time more effectively. But I gave up. I couldn’t stand not spending time with my kids, and it wasn’t a commitment that I could see myself making for the next 4 years. But I tried it. At least I tried it. I can sit here now, and not wonder “what if?”. I know “what if”, and that it wasn’t for me. But maybe it’s for you! Try it… enroll in a class or two. If you decide to give up, or put it off, or keep on going, you’ll know what’s expected of you, and can feel good that you gave it a go.

squandra
squandra
12 years ago

Do it! Yay!

Sarah
12 years ago

I think the answer is fairly evident: You should definitely do it. All the trite sayings are true; life is too short, anything is possible if you put your mind to it, etc. It was a lot of time and expense to get my MBA, but I did it while working and being pregnant (which granted is not the same as actually having kids), and it was hard, but so very worth it.

There is always a way to make your dream work into reality, because our reality is always changing and, more importantly, we have the power to change it.

Jess
Jess
12 years ago

Go for it.

Ginger
12 years ago

Go! Go! Go!

If you can ever find a way to do what you love, you must, aboslutely must follow that path. Having joy in your work will bring the joy elsewhere, and it is indeed worth the work it takes to get there.

warcrygirl
12 years ago

At 41 years of age I’ve decided to go back to college and get that elusive bachelor’s degree. You know, the degree I never needed in the 90’s because I could do the work anyway and I could still get the jobs but at a lower pay scale? Now I can’t even get my foot in the door so it’s either work for peanuts the rest of my life or bite the bullet and get the damn degree. With one income, a mortgage and two kids it’s going to be tough; not to mention there aren’t as much financial helps for a white, married middle-class housewife as for a single mother or a teen minority. So I’ll need to go into debt so I can get a job to pay off my debts. DO NOT let the science scare you away! If you can do everything else you’ve done (or at least have chronicled here) then YOU CAN DO IT.

caleal
caleal
12 years ago

I think it’s better to give things a go and possibly fail than always wonder how you would have done.

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