Should Have Been a Doctor



The title of this blog is something I hear a lot from other people and myself. I’m 44 and still paying student loans from the 90s, so when I hear people say, “Oh, it’s not too late to pursue another career, blah blah blah,” I know that is not how I want to see the financial plan for my midlife go. I am a massage therapist and a busy one at that. I love my job. I’ve had so many jobs in my life where I dreaded going to work. Sure, there are some days I just don’t want to work, but it’s only because a day off sounds good. I’m my own boss, and that’s how I like it. 


I originally went to college for marine science, but I wasn’t ready to hit the books hard at 18 and ended up changing majors. Years later, I moved away from a city full of opportunities and had to reinvent myself, which became a theme for me. I somehow found myself in EMT school. I loved working EMS; adrenaline is a great thing, but that job takes a toll on your health: Ironic but true. My husband and I then moved for a career opportunity that opened up for him, and our new, small mountain town had a private EMS system. I would be going from a bustling trauma city to more of a convalescent setting, and I knew that’s not what I would want. 


At 30, I went back to college to fulfill my dream of becoming an underachieving overachiever. I mean that I went back for a degree in athletic training, and unfortunately, the university only had an undergraduate program back then. So, I have spent eight years total in college and have two undergraduate degrees. (Can I trade up like one does a prize at a county fair?) That’s part of the “should have been a doctor” mentality. After five years in orthopedics, I just knew I had to find something else, so off I went to massage school. And I’ve been a massage therapist for eight years now. 


Okay, so what’s the point of this blog? It’s about owning the decisions you make or didn’t make in life and learning to be happy about it either way. No regrets— we make decisions at a moment in our life that we can never repeat. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we are all getting older every day, and we do change and mature and become different humans. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize at 18 that I would have loved to have been a doctor, but I find other ways to help people. I use my sports medicine education and love for anatomy in my current job to help my clients stay active. 


Remember, I am not a doctor: I am a licensed massage therapist with a degree in Sports Medicine. I cannot diagnose, and my opinions are my own and not that of anyone else, including the WFTDI. 


If you have regrets about a life decision, turn that into a positive. Use your experiences for good. Think about the path that led you to where you are. Are you happy here? Could you have been even happier? It took a long time, but I love my job. Does that mean a different opportunity won’t come along and change my path again? Certainly not. I’m always open to exploring new things.


-Jenn Pillow aka Rolli Cannoli

edited by Suzanne Hammer Samples