I wanted to be a Japanese history professor.
I spent 14 years from the start of my BA to my PhD graduation, pursuing a triad of degrees and associated training that was supposed to prepare me for that.
But then I learned about the academic job market, and grad school traumatized me badly, and so I couldn’t, in good conscience, go that way. The jobs weren’t there, and I was traumatized and exhausted and needed to recover. So it was just…over.
I feel like it wasn’t until I started getting somewhere in my current career– where I still get to teach others about Japanese history, but in a much more informal fashion and not for university credit– that I felt like I’d moved on.
I’m happier now, all things considered, but I won’t deny that I grieved for a long time.
And it’s okay to grieve things like this.