I had been wanting to go to law school for years, so I finally committed to take the LSAT. I was 13 years into my career and bored with my job. I had three elementary age kids, a husband, a house to manage, and a perfectly good job doing something I'm good at. But I was bored and I had no idea what direction to take my career in.
So I took a prep course, studied harder that I had ever done in my entire life, passed the LSAT and was accepted into both of the law schools I applied to.
At that point, I was convinced I was going to go to law school. I began telling friends and family about this secret journey I had been on for two months in my quest to pass the LSAT and get accepted to a program. I began more deeply considering how this would affect my life and the life of my husband and three children. Every time I told someone about this, I ended up in tears. My friends from my book club were so gracious about the number of times that our conversation descended back into discussing my "big giant life decision." And my husband, who had encouraged me to take the LSAT and who had held our life together while I was gone several nights a week studying, was so incredibly positive. He was certain that we would all be just fine and that this would make me happy.
Over a period of weeks I began making plans for the next few years. And I spend a lot of time telling myself that things would work out; that it wasn't really crazy to go to law school at this late date in my life. But I kept bursting into tears. Finally, I spent an extended period of days thinking deep down inside about why I really wanted to go. I didn't talk to anyone about it, but just spent time really thinking. Really analyzing. About how it would affect my family and about whether things would be better when I got to the other side of all the studying and all the debt it would take. And I decided, "No, this isn't right for me." When I finally made that decision I suddenly knew in my heart it wasn't right. It was literally like the clouds parted and the sun came out.
I would have loved law school. Those two months studying had been a profound experience for me from the standpoint of what I could do with my brain. The process showed me that I'm not using my skills to their fullest. It showed me that I can still learn something and that I still love to learn. And it showed me that sometimes "no" is the right answer. As I told all my many supporters of my decision not to go, I stopped crying. I started smiling. I knew deep in my subconscious that I was making the right decision.
Professionally, I'm still working things out. But I know now that when I decide on a path, and it's the right path, I will be prepared to take it. And I believe now that I'm better equipped to know the wrong path when I see it.