thank you for your comments! stcabr & Biffbradford - thank you for suggesting the volunteer work or a nursing assistant... very good ideas. You're right! the older you do get as an architect the more respect you're given and the more value you have. The problem is many times the further you go in the field the further you get away from designing. It becomes much more about project management - arguing with contractors/clients, etc. kungpoopanda I have volunteered for a emergency hotline as an advocate and it was very rewarding... I just am not sure I can find the same thing in architecture (although I am looking!) and am ready for a change. I think volunteering is the way to go. Thanks again everyone!