Quite a while back now, I needed an exit strategy from a toxic job. I looked around me at things my friends do; I thought hard about things I like to do; and I thought about things it would be good for me to do. I arrived at one conclusion: getting a personal training certification.
Mr. P was evidence that this could be a steady and profitable form of self-employment. It would keep me active. It would keep me (perforce, through continuing-education requirements) learning. So, I embarked on a course of home study and practice testing, and at the end of it passed the certification exam for NASM.
At roughly the time I was finishing this process, an opportunity opened up to take a ballroom teacher training course that could also lead to a certification. As a ballroom fanatic, this was (while a big financial and time investment) almost a no-brainer. It was extremely valuable instruction and in fact during a period of disemployment, being (and feeling) qualified to teach helped me bridge the gap between SUI and the bills.
As it happens, I never took the plunge into full self-employment. I was able to find a job, and then another job, and finally the job I have now (the best by far). These have provided us with financial stability and helped put us on a path to financial independence. And as the "must choose" date approaches for certain long-term decisions to be made, I have to look at the cost-benefit analysis re: keeping the PT certification.
It isn't all that costly. It comes out to about $350 a year for dues, insurance, continuing education, and the recertification fee. But with a ten-year timeline to a major life change, that adds up to $3500, which is fairly serious money.
If I let the certification lapse, and ten years down the road, maybe after we've settled outside of L.A., decide to re-certify, I can do it for around $500. I still save $3000. That's a tankless water heater, and a ductless air conditioner, AND a really good refrigerator.
With all this in mind, I have decided to let the certification lapse. The odds are that I will remain employed in an office job for the next ten years. Lapsing now does not prejudice recertification at a later date.
It is time for "present me" to stop paying it forward to "future me." Future Me can decide for herself what to do. And I have still enjoyed a midlife re-education of immense value.