April 2, 2015, was the 22 ½ -year anniversary of the day I got my California manicuring license. Yesterday, April 26, 2015, was my 45th birthday.
So somewhere between those days, I officially became able to say I’ve been doing nails for half my life.
I never thought I’d get tired of doing nails. I mean, sure, periods of burnout are par for the course. They come and go. And I’ve been waiting for the last bout to go for what — you guys have been watching — maybe six months? Nine now?
Things have been looking up these last few weeks. I’ve been much more patient with my clients and finding my Zen again. So that’s good news.
But I’m tired. Physically. I can feel the years of repetitious work taking their toll in the joints of my fingers, my elbows, and my shoulders.
Oddly enough, my wrists seem to hold up well — except for the one I broke. But I can’t blame that on nails. It’s never going to be the same.
At 22 ½ years in the business, I’m only about half way through my career. At least, I’m only half way to retirement.
I just don’t know if I have another 22 ½ years of doing nails left in me.
If I were to give you yung’uns some advice, I’d say plan for 25 years.
Yeah, I know. When I started this game I was uber-enthusiastic. Nails was all I lived for. I was absolutely sure that if there was anything that I was going to want to do for 40+ years of my working life, it was going to be nails.
And for 22 years I stayed convinced of that.
Then my eyesight started to go. And I started buying Aspercreme. And taking ibuprofen on a regular basis.
Believe or not, age is going to happen to you too.
Oh sure, some people are stellar at diet and exercise and have perfect genetics. Your 40s might not sneak up on you like mine have. But 20+ years of doing nails full time is going to leave its mark on you. Even if it’s not the point where you start considering retiring, it will be the point where you start feeling like you’ve been doing nails for 20 years.
I don’t want to retire yet. I definitely think about retiring though. I used to think I’d never completely walk away. Now I am definitely expecting to be 100% out of the business at some point.
I’m not done, but I’d love to cut back. I just can’t give it up quite yet. But maybe semi-retirement would be nice?