I have been following, with increasing interest, Lucy Kellaway’s second career as a teacher, and the movement she has started around a second career aimed at giving back. It makes a lot of sense. In her latest column she muses on what happens with status as you change from high-power jobs to become a teacher, and she notes that it depends on if you derive your sense of self-worth from external or internal sources. Perhaps, she argues, older people can drop the need for external validation and instead build their sense of self-worth on their own evaluation of themselves.
As I tread closer to my 50s, I find I think more and more about what it is that I want to spend the next 10-20 years doing and how I want to approach them. It is not a simple question, and I like my current work – but there is something intriguing in the notion of a second career. If health and circumstance allow I think it could be worthwhile exploring options and ideas around at least a project or some kind of work that would be different from what I have done so far.
We are all after all just experiments in living, so maybe we should embrace that more. Now, this is a metacomment, but I wanted to make a note of these thoughts to make sure that I come back to them and perhaps even hold myself accountable for thinking this through properly. Sometimes we need to write things down to seed a change. In due time, without any hurry, but rigorously and with a certain slowness.