The next few years would be packed with tumult. New domestic arrangements, new relationships, somehow acquiring three step-daughters, while the last of my own three kids strode into adulthood, leaving me with a bad case of empty nest syndrome. No longer living on the side of an active volcano, however, meant I was better equipped to deal with it all.
I still craved that long sought after job stability, though. For a year or two I toyed with becoming a teacher, but would've needed to get a degree first. Instead, I applied for various proper jobs - including, just for shits and giggles, speechwriter to then-Idiot Mayor of London Boris Johnson. I got turned down thank God. As I did for every other job I applied for, without even being invited for an interview. My weird CV, age, and lack of any actual qualifications, seemingly disqualified me for any conventional role.
That sobering wake-up call was partly why I ended up training to be a psychotherapist; I foolishly thought there might actually be a job at the end of it. What I hadn't realised at that point is that most psychotherapists are out of work, or work voluntarily, or have second jobs, and mostly just have other psychotherapists, or trainee psychotherapists, as their clients.
Also, that most psychotherapists are terrible at their jobs, and shouldn't ever have received a qualification, And that the entire industry seems mostly set up to facilitate the training of other psychotherapists.
To say I became disillusioned by would be a grotesque understatement. With hindsight, I'm astonished I managed to make it through my two-and-a-bit years - just long enough to receive my Fitness to Practice certificate - without throwing a chair at somebody.