Dear Dr Toni:
I have been in the advertising business for more than 20 years, longer than any sane person ever stays. I am in my late 50’s and wanting a change. I feel like there is a part of me that is like a teenager wanting to break free and not be responsible for anyone. Unfortunately, I have a partner who only brings in about 30% of the income it takes to cover our lifestyle and my parents require some supplementation as well.
I have been drinking a little too much sake at the end of the day and looking forward to that as well which are red flags for me. Recently, a young woman has come into my life to mentor. We met at a workshop. Although she is in her mid 20’s, she is more like a teenager because she became a star as she was entering her teens. I have no interest in her sexually but she has proposed that I be a kind of advisor to her when she goes on location to Italy in a few months. She did not have a great relationship with her father and is looking for someone to replace him in a way. The shoot could go on for several months. My partner is totally ok with it.
I feel tempted to quit my job and take this break. I will be well compensated but I just don’t know what will be next when I return. It is not that easy to get hired in the ad business at my age. I just know that I need a change and could use some advice myself from an advice guru!
What say you, doc?
Bored and Bewildered in LA
You pose an interesting dilemma. Stay where you are, keep drinking and maybe even start drinking more or take a risk and allow yourself to discover who you might be on the other side of this adventure in Italy. Is it also possible for you to manage your work from afar given the technology we have now? I imagine if you have been in this business for over 20 years, you have a senior position in the company. If you are valuable to them, (before you sabotage your job and start drinking your lunch), perhaps you can propose some kind of sabbatical?
M ysense is that your soul is calling you to change things up. Take some time every day and ask the inner teenager, what does he want today? Further, then provide him with something other than alcohol that is fun and/or creative to do. Allow the joy to return. Go to your Itunes account or you tube and see what music he would like to listen to and take some time out to dance, if that pulls him. Going to Italy sounds quite wonderful but you can bring more adventure to your life right now. Do you have some habits that need upgrading? For example, would the teenager like to take up bike riding as opposed to going to the gym? Have you been doing the same exercise routine for years? Eaten the same breakfast, etc.
Spring is coming. Use your Spring fever to enliven your life a little. This young woman coming into your life now may be quite synchronistic. Perhaps you are here to learn from her as well as be a mentor. If she has a young spirit, let her energy help you to remember your own youthful inclinations.
I would urge you to take some kind of action now before you start making errors at work that subconsciously clear the way for a “passage to viva Italia”! Let your inner teenager open you to a new chapter in your Act 3 stage of life but you must spend quiet time to access what that part of you really really wants. Do one simple thing every day to feed “his soul.”
Let me know what you decide. I am very curious as to how this works out.