Everyone can be discontented if he ignores his blessings and looks only at his burdens. ~Thomas S. Monson
Question #92669 posted on 10/07/2019 4:51 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm an indecisive person, and I'm at another point in my life where this is causing me some distress. I struggled to choose a major in college, eventually picking one that was fine but still knowing now in retrospect that if I had the opportunity again, I'd likely choose something else. And I struggled to choose a career path, but finally chose something that is a decent career that I think I'd enjoy (namely, physical therapy). I've been accepted to start PT school in May 2020.

But over the past year I've had opportunities to dive a little deeper into my creative side, and I absolutely loved it. And now I'm feeling more and more unsure and uncomfortable about my decision to go into physical therapy, mostly out of fear of the opportunity cost. As much as I'm (mostly) sure that I'd enjoy doing physical therapy, I know that once I go that route it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to change my mind. School will be expensive, I'll need to start working soon after finishing to try to pay off my debt, and at some point along the way I might end up with a family I need to support. I know a lot of people change jobs and careers, but I grew up in a home where my dad realistically never actually could, so I know that it's not as easy or possible as people often make it sound. And I'm just afraid of making a decision like this that is all too likely going to become a part of the rest of my life whether I like it or not, at the cost of not going in other directions and doing other things that I might enjoy and love much more, particularly in fields that involve more creativity and imagination like writing, performing, designing, etc.

I know that one answer to this is that even if I go into physical therapy, I will find opportunities to be creative regardless. And I don't know, that may be true. But I'm not confident in it. For example, in high school I loved writing, and I was really good at it. And I then I got to college and frankly never even considered some of the writing-heavy majors because of valid but also stupid concerns about being able to find a job and make a living with them. So I ended up in a science major that I did enjoy, but I never did very much more writing, and it still hurts to know that I did so little to improve in an area that I loved so much and was so good at. It's not like I've gotten worse or anything, but I missed out on such a neat opportunity and I'm really not sure that I'd make the same decision if I got to go back and try again.

And now, as I said before, I've been able to dive into my creative side over the past year much more than I have before, and I've been realizing that I just love it. I enjoy science and physical therapy, but I get this rush when I use the part of my brain that creates and imagines and I just feel passionate about it. And I'm just afraid of going into physical therapy, and letting this spark and skill that I've discovered be untouched and undeveloped for who knows how long. And maybe I'll have some opportunities to develop it anyway, but maybe I won't, and maybe life will happen (as life is wont to do) and I just never really come back around to this.

When I got the call that I had been accepted to PT school I was happy to find out, but not excited. And I just want so badly to be excited about what I'm doing and going into. So maybe I should just forget PT school and try to go a different route instead, but in the end maybe I won't actually enjoy that either and I just wasted my opportunity to go into something that I'll probably enjoy and that will be a steady and stable career. So the thought of going to PT school doesn't excite me, but the thought of NOT going to be PT school gives me anxiety.

The good news is that I still have a months to make some more decisions, and I'm working on it. I'm trying to prepare for PT school while also being creative and seeing if any doors open up. It's just stressful and it was kind of getting to me right now, so I thought I'd come to you guys. If you have any advice or thoughts or anything, I would very much appreciate them. Thanks :)

-Sigh

A:

Dear you,

This is a really hard decision to make, and I wish you all the best in making it.

I actually have two fairly different perspectives on this. The first is that if you truly want to go into a creative field, then that is precisely what you should pursue. You should go after what makes you happiest right now. 

The second perspective is that there is a reason why we are paid to work. We wouldn't do our jobs for free. The main purpose of work is to be able to provide for ourselves; it doesn't have to be a huge source of fulfillment in our lives. Obviously it's preferable to have a job that doesn't make us unhappy and super stressed, but a job isn't necessarily where we should be looking as a major active source of enjoyment in our lives. 

My parting advice to you is to be fully aware of the consequences of making a decision either way. If you choose to continue with physical therapy, there's a very real possibility you won't be able to nurture your creative spark, and that potential will be lost to you. If you choose to not go into physical therapy, there's a very real possibility you'll discover that working in a more creative field isn't actually that fulfilling to you as a career (despite being a great hobby), but at that point you won't be able to fall back to physical therapy. 

I do think that whatever you decide, you'll be able to live a full, happy life.

~Anathema