I am about to embark on a four year journey. I think I know where I am going…
Given the way the world is now with social media and everybody either constantly producing or constantly consuming digital content, I’m gonna be a producer and document the process online.
I am 33 years old. I’m a white male in the United States. It’s 2019. I’m on the older end of the millennial spectrum. I have been a ‘manny’ for the last 5 years, taking care of children 0-3 in Boulder, Colorado, a town full of financially well-off liberals. I am also a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, and since I graduated in 2013, I’ve struggled with turning my Feldenkrais training into a successful private practice.
These days, the media is constantly offering big broad questions about the future to whoever has an appetite. Climate crises are becoming more and more frequent. Our political system is on the fritz with deep polarization. Economic inequality is ever on the rise. Racism and sexism and abuses of power are consistently coming to light. Global migrations of human flow are fomenting national identity crises across the western world [maybe the eastern and southern too, and I just don’t know about them?].
In my microcosm, the biggest question is work. I see all these articles about the ‘future of work’ in which no millennial is ever going to have a solid career in the way our parents or grandparents did. Automation, algorithms and AI are fundamentally changing the economic landscape, they say. What does that mean for me?
I want to try to track some of these socio-economic-cultural conditions as I go through a multi-year process of acquiring a new professional identity… which is… drumroll please…
… Becoming an Occupational Therapist.
I’m going this direction for a couple reasons. First, I enjoy connecting with people. I enjoy attunement. I enjoy it when people, myself included, are in situations where it is relatively easy to learn new things and become more capable of enjoying life. I think interpersonal connection is often a key ingredient in what allows people to grow and learn and adapt, and I think OT will be a field where I can learn more practical ways to live these values in the world.
Second, I’m holding out hope that OT could be a viable path for me to adult my way into the middle class, assuming the middle class continues to exist. In my estimation, OT is a helping profession that is relatively mainstream, institutionally recognized, and bureaucratically plugged-in, to schools, social services, insurance entities and the like. This establishment dimension is super attractive to me.
It’s the beginning of a journey, and a relatively long one considering attention spans, the speed of life and the number of prerequisite courses I need to take in order to even apply for a master’s programs. But no matter. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
This week I am starting two new jobs that I hope will give me some sense of whether or not i am on the right path. One is supporting a man with a Spinal Cord Injury, the other helping a man living with ALS.