I’m having a midlife crisis of sorts, and I need to talk it out. I’m dissatisfied with my life, specifically, well everything, but right now, I’m focusing on my lack of a career. I don’t want to be a freelance editor any longer, and I’m struggling as a writer. It’s not easy as a writer out there, what what? I knew it wouldn’t be because anything creative is gonna be a hard row to hoe, but writing in this day and age is capricious and whimsical. The great thing about the internet is that anyone can write. The bad thing about the internet is that anyone can write. I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a lot of shit on the webs. A LOT.
Let me hasten to say this isn’t new, the shit, I mean. 90% of pop culture is pure shit. Music, books, TV shows, video games, whatever–it’s mostly shit. It always has been, and it probably always will be. It’s just that the proliferation of shit is easier online. Any yahoo (see what I did there) can start a blog (ahem) and rant away. Yes, pot meet kettle.
The other problem is that because of the sheer volume, it’s harder to get noticed in this day and age. I can wade through twenty posts and maybe find one nugget of truth. I have up to fifty tabs open at a time, but I read maybe a fifth of the tabs I have open. I’ve been blogging on a daily basis (weekdays only) for nearly a year, and while it’s been beneficial to my writing chops, it’s not really gone anywhere professionally. I have a very small faithful band of readers, and I appreciate every one of them. Seriously. Learning that someone reads almost everything I write is humbling and gratifying. Hearing that someone remembers something I wrote years ago is amazing as well.
My problem is that I’m terrible at self-promoting. There are several reasons for it. One, in Taiwanese culture, you’re not supposed to brag about your achievements. There’s a superstitious reason for it–if you brag about something, the gods will be offended and punish you for it. In my family, it’s even worse. My father thinks mentioning anything you’ve done is bragging, even though he inside, he’s very prideful about his work, and it’s a complicated mess. In addition, women in American society get called bitches on the daily if they’re deemed as getting too big for their britches. This is the short answer as to why I have difficulty promoting myself.
In addition, I don’t like to intrude, and I don’t like to be a pest. Endlessly promoting my own work feels like both, but I know that’s something I have to get over. It’s also hard because it feels like my child has been rejected every time I circulate a post and it gets little to no love. I already have a low self-esteem, and that doesn’t help. It’s also frustrating when I read a lot of the shit being passed around as wisdom on social media.
Writing is my passion, but it’s not my first love. Acting/performing is, and I haven’t done it in some time for many reasons. I don’t think it’s in me to get back to it in this lifetime, but, there’s always vlogging. I know that people are more likely to watch a five minute video than read a two-thousand word piece, even if it contains the exact same material. I’m someone who will read the article rather than watch the video, but I get it.
In addition, my best writing is when I’m writing satire. Whenever I read my older posts, it’s the funny ones that stick with me. There are some notable exceptions, such as my series on Jerry Sandusky–which, by the way, took it all out of me to write–but most of my best posts are when I’m skewering somebody–mostly the GOP–with humor. This trend has continued as my favorite posts to write are my POOG posts. They’re not easy to write because satire is hard, yo, but they’re the ones I enjoy writing the most.
Keeping all that in mind, one thing I plan to do is majorly overhaul my blog–or start a new one completely. I love writing about whatever is on my mind, but marketing would be easier if I were more focused on, say, pop culture. I could still get my politics on, but it would be less of a focus. The biggest change is that I’d add a video once a week (at the least). This would be huge for me because I’ve been resistant to it for some time for many reasons. However, I feel like it’s the next logical step in my blogging. And, I could come up with some one-woman skits if I get ambitious, which would satisfy my acting itch.
Here’s the thing. I’m forty-six, and I need to get serious about my life. I’ve been incredibly privileged in that I’ve never had to truly worry about money the way most people do, but I still want to have a career of note, and I’m running out of time. I’m thinking about going back to school and getting a graduate degree in psychology because that’s my other passion, and I would be content to do something with it in a professional capacity.
The problem is, my two dreams are mutually exclusive. Yes, I could write and do videos as a psychologist, but they would have to be very different than what I write now. I would not want my clients to know about my personal life or beliefs as it would hinder my ability to do work with them. I don’t think I’d need to be a completely blank slate, and I stand by everything I’ve done online, but one of a therapist’s greatest assets is impartiality. That would mean scrubbing my online presence and no longer using Facebook or Twitter as personal venting outlets, which is hard for me to imagine.
I could write fiction, of course, and I probably still would–however, I don’t know if I could give up my online life.
If I do go down the psychology road, I have some other decisions to make, such as which kind of psychology? The three I’m choosing between are Industrial/Organizational (I/O), Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), and Clinical Psychology/Counseling. Another decision is do I want to start with an MA and keep a doctorate degree on the back burner, or do I want to jump into a PsyD/PhD right away? Even that is a weighty decision. I would love to write a four-hundred page thesis, but since I don’t plan on being a professor, a PhD seems wasteful. A PsyD is more practical if I plan on practicing rather than teaching, and it’s more hands on as well.
The problem is that it all feels overwhelming. Each decision comes with splinter decisions, and sometimes, I wish I were more of a act first, think later kind of person, but I’m not. I tend to over-plan and ten act in a flurry of motion at the last moment. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the way I work.
The thing, though, is that this isn’t a case of a good choice and a bad choice. It’s the choice between doing something I love (writing/performing) and something I like (psychology). If I were to be totally practical, I would get my MA in I/O and work with a private corporation that will pay me mad monies. I/O is on this list because it’s lucrative, and I wouldn’t have to take the work home with me. MFT is on the list because it’s steady work as there will never be a shortage of people in shitty marriages/families. But, Clinical Psychology is where my heart is, and in a perfect world, it’d be what I studied. The problem is, in MN, you can’t private practice without a PhD/PsyD, and I’m not sure I want to spend five years in school again.
I love school, don’t get me wrong. Rather, I love learning new things. So, from that standpoint, I would mind noodling around in a classroom, talking about theory with people and shit. However, right now I’m focused on how this can help me have a career in the shortest amount of time possible, which means an MA. On the third hand, I may want to do a PsyD/PhD at some point, which would mean it’d be better to get my MA from a school with an APA-accredited school (they only give accreditation to doctorate programs) so I can transfer some of my credits.
See why I’m having difficulty making this decision?
Right now, my compromise is that I’ll continue to do my blogging (with videos and marketing) for another year. In the meantime, I’ll apply to psych grad programs for the fall of next year–once I figure out which path of psychology I want to take. Hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll be in a new and much more productive place career-wise!