Midlife crisis? What do you really want to do now you’re grown up?

The session with the career change psychologist started pretty well. Her home office was piled with laundry, she was wearing leopard skin, there was a glowing heater. Respect at first sight.

We got down to business. She listened to my personal and professional history, nodded, thought my recent redundancy could be a great reinvention springboard: What’s holding you back from doing what you want?

My post-divorce mortgage, of course. Ruinously high. How high? She stood up fast: The session’s over. I can’t help you with a mortgage that big. You’re making all decisions based on fear. Sell your house, then come back.

Stop. What? Everyone has big mortgages. I needed somewhere to put children. And I was rapt in myself, living in a rockstar 1930s former shoe factory in Collingwood. But she wasn’t budging.

How old are you and your husband? she asked. Right, you have about 10 really good years left before parts start to fall off. Don’t waste them doing something you don’t love just to keep up with the Joneses.

I went home, ignored the sound expert advice. That was 2016. I got another job which was fabulous, then another which nearly drove me actually mad with frustration and grief over trashing my carefully-built career for money.

Think being forced to dance five times a day like a performing bear, being told your eyes are dead, having to work around the fact you’re forbidden to talk to the woman whose communications director you are.

Not great. So I belatedly did what I was told, sold our city place and moved to the Bellarine. We converted half our garage to my work hangout. There’s books, a bar fridge, monstera plant, olive velvet sofa, giant print of a sexy Cuban grandma smoking a cigar and holding a cat.

It’s fantastic and I love the flexibility and freedom of writing for a stack of clients. But. Is it enough? I’m hopeless at the business side, my super is stagnating, I say yes to every job in case it’s the last one offered. So at 55 I’m at a crossroads again, nutting out what I want to do next.

Sometimes I want to work at Bunnings, with no responsibility once I take my apron off. Other times I secretly envy those polished women who spend their days at yogalates or lunches. But mostly, increasingly, I want to build a second act with meaning which transcends money.

I’m not alone. Recent . More than four in 10 are considering a career shift – and 52 is now the average age for that.

Rebranded, the decades of the 50s and 60s are now less a waiting room for retirement, more a time of possibility for an enriching new chapter. If you can find it and be arsed to chase it.

Of those interested in switching horses, 39 per cent want to feel they’re making a difference. Accepting the discomfort a career change can bring – loss of identity, a twitchy ego – they’re taking up teaching, counselling, learning Auslan. Paying it forward in the community.

This week’s claiming Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins told multiple friends before his March death that he couldn’t do it anymore is fascinating. At their Geelong show a couple of weeks before he passed, Taylor looked – as always – like a man in love with his work.

So, if it’s true, the story is also a little heartbreaking. That a man who had money, fame, whose job was playing music with his best friend Dave Grohl, wanted something else and didn’t get it.

Is it a symptom of this time or our age that we hang on to things that no longer serve? The pandemic taught us there’s plenty we can’t control. One thing we can control is working out what we want to be now we’re grown up.

See you in the power tools aisle.

Kate Halfpenny is the founder of Bad Mother Media.

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