Starting down a new professional path at the age of thirty has been humbling, periodically carrying me past the point of healthy humility, and instead dropping me into morass of self-doubt. It's not supposed to be easy; that makes sense to me. If the act of chasing a dream was not covered in roadblocks and obstacles, more people would do it, they wouldn't be called dreams, and mind-numbing dead-end jobs wouldn't exist. However, the blows to my self-confidence still surprise me when they come.
Having sought my new skills from affordable, non-prestigious community colleges has been an awesome experience overall, and looking back now, I am satisfied with my decision to not upend our financial and geographical life to get into the art school of my dreams instead. Three years after I started this journey, I would just be finishing (or would have another year to go) and would be carrying unbelievable, law-school sized debt. However, one thing I forfeited by building my skills this way was access to professional development, and deeper learning afforded by more advanced courses.
Job searching in fashion design has been harrowing so far; intimidating enough that I occasionally think about heading back into education. Five years of experience already! Summers (kind of) off! Helping people! And then, I have to force myself to recall the sleepless Sunday nights and the misery in the pit of my stomach, which had only slightly dissipated by the fifth year.
In the midst of this push-and-pull feeling, yesterday something awesome happened. A job was posted at a place where I have dreamed of working. One of those impossible dreams, that I don't even say out loud. I use the word impossible because three years ago, I had none of the skills described in the job posting, and yesterday, when I applied for it, I had at least the basics of all of them. I say impossible because in the past, my husband's job would have prevented me from even entertaining the fantasy of this job, but now, geography no longer forces limits on my job search. Suddenly, I realized that even being in a position to submit a serious application for this job represents unbelievable progress. Progress in my skills and happiness, and progress in my marriage and life.
We celebrated progress last night with some bubbly, and for the first time in a long while, I didn't feel worried about what to do next.