Parenting throws you down all sorts of new emotional rabbit holes and amongst other things, the pleasure of having to possibly negotiate a serious life crises. According to a poll commissioned by the Open University almost half of us Brits have either had or are going through a ‘life crisis’, with unfulfilled dreams and ambitions topping the list of causes.
Before becoming a mother I didn’t really think about changing careers but then after the arrival of my first it played on my mind more and more, I suppose it’s because one ponders over what example they are presenting to their kids, and the importance of ‘following your dreams’ not just being some waffle that got said lots of times.
On Friday Zac and I were invited by the Open University to hear about how they encourage people who are experiencing a ‘life crisis’ to follow their dreams by studying in their own time whenever possible. The Open University is urging people to discover their ‘Plan P – their ‘Passion Plan’ – and realise their unfulfilled ambitions.
We were lucky enough to be able to take our kids to the event which was held at the awe-inspiring KIDZania (if your kids are not old enough yet, you have something seriously exciting to look forward to). Imagine a 75,000 sq.ft. child-size City where kids are in charge!
It’s is a wonderful world with 60 real life role-play activities (including in the bank, on stage or fighting crime on the streets as a police officer!) Each role-play experience is crafted to teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, team work and independence. Genius! My work is done!
Founded originally in Mexico, it was brought here to the UK as a trial. We are being watched by the Americans who I’m sure will scale it up to an insanely aspartamed, shinier, version of what we have. So what better place for the Open University to allow us to explore such questions. Amongst other things we were drumming, marching around the town as police and learning to land a British Airways aeroplane.
We heard from Olympic hockey palyer and OU student Helen Richardson about pursuing her passion in psychology. Her wish to understand our mental state when competing and the psychology behind our condition was forming just a small part of what was in fact a life long interest in Psychology.
It’s not just those midway through their lives who have suffered a ‘life crisis’ and need to re-ignite their passions. Almost a third of those surveyed (29%) have been through a ‘life crisis’ between the ages of 18 and 30, suggesting millennials are particularly susceptible.
39% said embarking on a new career would help solve their issues and 24% said learning something new would have the same effect.
Whilst over two thirds of those surveyed wish they spent more time pursuing their personal passions, 27% don’t think they have time to do so, with long hours of work and social pressures swallowing up free time. One in ten of those surveyed do not have any personal passions or interests outside of their career, however 41% said that taking up a new interest or hobby would help address their ‘life crisis’.
So this is indeed shocking but not really, we all have lots of people in our immediate network that are unhappy, and status anxiety has become a real thing. Parenting = Life Crisis? I think yes!
Becoming a parent can amplify all your fears and insecurities, us mothers have to have a mirror shoved in our faces on a daily basis and some of the pressure is self inflicted. Your body changes irreversibly, you lose your freedom and like most mothers who fear returning to work, find the slog of work is mostly paying for childcare. So in view of all this doom and gloom, it is in my humble opinion, a perfect opportunity to re-think it all – what you really want to do and what really excites you. Maybe a wonder around in the miniature world of Kidzania will help you with this but either way, as Michael Jordan once said, ‘I missed 100% of the shots I never took’, so if you have an inclining or a an idea of what you want to do, give it a go – there’s no time like the present!
About The Open University:
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 180,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas. For more information please visit www.open.ac.uk.