At a Crossroads

crossroadsI need some sage advice and ideas from my readers – so long as it’s reasonable I’ll look into it.

So at this point I’m deciding between several life paths. I’ve gone over this with my LCSW and all of them are plausible and all of them I have relative confidence that I can complete them with success. At this point I will get it out that I have never felt more confident in my emotional state ever than before. Just 3 years ago I was such a nervous and guilt-ridden wreck of a (young) man that I couldn’t do anything other than Aikido and hopping around my 10th or 11th job.

Now I’m back at this point; deciding what I want (need?) to do with my life for at least the next 4 or so years. Just thinking about it day after day gives me a level of grief that’s manageable but I know that it’s looming. So here it goes.

So far I’ve looking into:

  • The US Army – going in as an officer; I’m interesting in either military intelligence or aviation (helicopters).
  • Police officer – I’ve only applied to my local city’s police department because it’s the only one where I know I will get “action”; crime and the sort. I would like to not have a comfortable and cozy assignment but if I’m going to be one then I might as well serve my community, right?
  • Personal trainer – God I just looked up the prices to get the license(es) to start. NESTA, ACE, those things cost an arm (or leg) at about $300 bucks to start. But I feel that I’ll be confident I’ll save enough money by the end of the year to start getting one.
  • PE teacher – I’m going to sign up for prep course which (hopefully) will help me pass the RICA so that I can finally get my teaching credential. It’s complicated by I originally studied for an elementary school speciality. Unfortunately I hated teaching the K-5 age group because of the preparation demands but I love the part time PE gig that I have going on at a local middle school here. But in order to get a credential so that I can start teaching PE (and take on other PE related assignments) I have to pass this god-forsaken test that it akin to me smashing my head against the wall asking why did the universe make my hair black. I’ve taken the RICA twice before and both times I failed miserably.

As you can probably tell, I’m very physical oriented. Call it the ADD part of me, ISTP part of me, or just me in general. This is what is going on for me now. Whatever path I take, I’ve come to the realization that I have one major fear (the first point) and one major theme that has allowed me success and excellence in whatever has happened so far in my life.

  • The Fear That I don’t want to work 10 times harder than I need to and that I don’t die 10 times more than I need to (JWS quote to me). A constant theme in my life is that I’m working harder for the same stuff and jumping through extra hurdles and getting less than what my peers are doing. This theme has been with me since elementary school and has played out in my professional, personal, dating, and emotional life.  My misdirection in my teaching program is a very good example of this: went through 2 years of an elementary school teaching program only the discover that PE was the best fit for me in the end when I could have spent $8000 and 4 months less than I should/needed to have.
  • The Trump card That I have a balanced life – from I’ve noticed in my life is that if I concentrate too much on one thing (school, work, whatever), I look sight of the growth process. I grew up in a poor family and therefore I also grew up with a limited view on what I should be doing with my life (more on that another time). I want to – I need to – improve myself in all of my areas in life: financially, professionally, personally, emotionally, and spiritually. Growing up poor you’re reminded from time to time that money is something to be worried about and that luxuries (my parents’ view, not mine) such as hobbies are just that – hobbies. A good list of what I wish for out of my life is summed up figuratively in this post.

Not that am I always going to be “balanced”? No, I just want to be constantly improving on something at any given moment.


Keep in mind, my family doesn’t know about these choices. My family has always been vehemently against me joining the military (they survived ‘Nam as civilians) and I can only imagine they have similar ideas about police work.

There’s more information that I could tell you to clarify my thoughts and where I lean towards, but I want to hear what people say first. Thanks and hopefully if any of you are on this sentence I thank you for having the patience.


7 thoughts on “At a Crossroads

  1. Anything you chose, good luck.. but remember you can always change!
    Trust me, I know!
    No decision is life & death.. that is any second of your life anyway 🙂
    See pros and cons, then go.. if it sucks.. go back and change!
    It’s going to be ok man!!

  2. You are in luck! My wife is a career counselor. She said that ISTPs work best with less structure and like autonomy. Based on that you should avoid the military at all costs — trust me: you won’t be happy. Do you have access to a career counselor via one of your previous colleges? If so my wife said you should take the full version of the MBTI and the Strong Interest Inventory. Many local workforce development centers offer these tests too — you’ll have to shop around and specifically ask about the two tests.

    According to the missus, cop, personal trainer, and PE teacher would be a good fit for your personality type. Many police departments now require a BA or BS so you have a leg up there. It also will help with advancement in some departments.

    Good luck! If you have other questions just shoot me an e-mail and I can relay them to my wife. Poke around on my blog and you’ll find my addy.

    1. Aikidude – Thanks man, I appreciate it!
      Rick – Oh how I wished opportunity knocked louder…

      Bob – I’ve had an MBTI test and a Strong Interest Inventory done in the past two years. They have helped in narrowing the field but what still plagues me is the lack of experience in everything (professionally). Give some thanks to your wife for me!

  3. I think that Police Officer and PE teacher have the most growth as well as the most pay. Yah – I said it: pay.

    Also, just by reading your blog posts, I have a hard time believing that you and authority get along, so the Army’s out. Personal fitness training? In all honest, there’s no money in it. Yah – I said it: no money.

    Whenever I look at a venture I look at the personal growth factor and if it will augment my life financially. If I’m always looking for the next crumb or worried about my financial situation, then I won’t have a very balanced life whatsoever.

    If I could go back, I would have done things differently to influence those two key areas. While it’s true that I train like a beast for something I don’t even charge for, I admit that’s for me. What I do outside of my martial arts is not for me entirely as it’s mostly for everyone else.

    1. “Do what you love, and don’t do it for free.”

      My own Sensei don’t earn very much from their teaching(s) – I’d say $2.5K USD/month (maybe 3 on a good month). Maybe you can charge your students a flat, cheap rate/month let them come as many times as they want. If one only comes once a month, they get charged $50 (for example), if another comes 20 times, they only pay that same amount, etc. Just sayin’

      Yeah, pay and the path are paramount, but being from a poor-ish family I feel the need to at least make *some* money off of something.

      I’ve come to appreciate your balanced approach to things by the way, it keeps things in perspective.

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