When we were kids, my brother and I both knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to be a hairdresser, he wanted to be an architect. Without any support from our parents, we both managed to put ourselves through school and achieve these goals, even when life sometimes took us off that path.
After my youngest son moved out 3 years ago, Wil and I had a new found freedom and flexibility in our lives. Wil was starting to travel more for work and since I had my own business and made my own schedule, I would book clients around those trips and travel with him. I was meeting so many awesome, creative people from all over the world, which was really inspiring. But then I would come home and go back to being a hairdresser, which started feeling less and less fulfilling every time I went to the salon. I actually started to resent it.
My whole life I had wanted to have this career. I worked my ass off as a single parent working as a waitress to put myself through school. I had interned, worked as an employee in a salon, and built up my clientele before going out on my own. I built all of this up over 17 years and didn’t want to do it anymore. It took me a year and half to actually say this out loud to Wil and when I finally did, he was completely supportive of me doing what made me happy. After our discussion, I went to Lake Tahoe with my friend for 4 days to be away and figure out if this is really what I wanted. I made up my mind and when I went back to work, I started telling my clients I was retiring. Several of them had been with me at least 15 years, so I gave them 11 weeks notice to get them through the holidays, even giving them a couple of great referrals to send them to once I was gone. During those 11 weeks, I was excited, scared, nervous and sad, but I knew it was the right decision.
Yesterday was my one year anniversary of retiring. I thought about when I was said my last goodbye, packed up all of my belongings, and took one last walk down the main street in town, all decorated with twinkle lights. I thought about how I cried that whole drive home, finally stopping as I pulled in to our driveway.
I remembered walking in to our house that night, balloons and banners with “Happy Retirement” on them filling my living room, my dining room table displaying a huge bouquet of flowers on it, candles lit, champagne in glasses, and a card on one of the two dinner plates. I remembered crying as I read the sweet words of love and support Wil had written in it, while he served up an amazing dinner, complete with gourmet cupcakes for dessert. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful part of my life, and I was ready to start something new.
I’ve heard that the average adult changes careers four times in their life. I don’t know why I thought I had to stick with one thing when I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Everyone told me I would miss being a hairdresser and it’s funny, I don’t miss it at all. I did it and enjoyed it, but I was ready to move on. Life is too short to not do what you love. Change is scary, but if you have the desire and focus to try something new, change is good. I highly recommend it.