My oldest son recently begun taking online college courses. Naturally, he is encouraged to do well, and that tends to be where the friction lies. He doesn’t want to be asked about school. This is mostly because his focus is elsewhere—whether it’s video games or going to work. We have come to a point where we have stopped asking…almost. We made him very aware that college is way different from high school, and he has to be on top of his coursework. In the end, we are skeptical he will succeed in the first semester. Those who have gone to college understand what that means, especially when it comes to funding.
It got me thinking about my rerun through college a few years ago. I did the work and became dedicated to getting my degree. Just like my son, I didn’t take my first year in college at 19 as seriously as I should have. However, I do wish I did. I shared that with him, too. His 19 and my 19 were vastly different in circumstances, but the mentality seems to be the same. Learning from my mistakes and experiences doesn’t seem to be working.
Going back to college in my forties changed me for the better—but, in the end, that’s all it did. There was no job waiting for me after earning my Bachelors Degree. There was no indication that a degree would even help. It is such a paradox. Companies want a degree-toting employee, yet having one guarantees you nothing. I’m not naive to think experience and knowledge isn’t a factor. In my experience, even a resume that matches a job description perfectly doesn’t get you any phone calls.
I tried pointing at things to blame. Was it my age? My last name—which was Spanish at the time of graduation? Was it because I took a few years off, not working, to raise my kids? Was it the field of study? I found that nothing I came up with was conclusive; only that having a degree really didn’t matter. I will clarify: it didn’t matter when getting a job, but it did for my own personal goals.
But, how do you persuade your children to go to college and get a degree to have the career they want when they know it didn’t work for you? I’m not sure. I will, however, continue to emphasize the immense feeling of gratification it gave me. I will expand on how I learned more about not only what already interested me, but gained other interests. I will tell them it taught me focus, patience, and perseverance. College heightened an appetite for knowledge.
This is the take-away I want for them.
There comes a time when you have to sit down, blow the dust off your keyboard and just write. The dust isn’t there because of perpetual writer’s block; which happens because you’re actually involved in the act of writing and your mind is a blank. I’m talking about just stopping altogether. Any writer will tell you that you have to write something every day, even if it’s nothing special. But, what happens when you don’t want to do the one thing you love? You find out why.
So, it’s time for me to pull it together and blog my mind. It’s been too long really, and it definitely isn’t because I didn’t have anything to say. I had a lot of things to write about; and given the fact I have gone through a divorce since my last post, you can probably guess it wasn’t very nice. So, to say a lot has changed is an understatement. I am not the same person whose blogs you’ve read in the past. I have morphed into another. My true self has come to surface. When you’ve come to realize you were living with someone who is undoubtedly afflicted with a Narcissist Personality Disorder, you have to get out as quickly as you can. They are controlling in ways you don’t even realize. The process of divorcing such a person was downright awful. And because we have children together, I am not completely liberated from him. He still sees me as inferior and will never accept the reality that I don’t want him in my life. Well, that’s too bad for him, isn’t it?
In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Dumbledore, in all of his wisdom, said, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light". In late 2013, this was true for me. Except all the lights I turned on were being consumed by my husband. He was (and still is) the eternal black hole in my life. Fortunately, I was able to escape his event horizon. Call it selfishness or self-preservation, but I was fighting for my happiness--my life; and I had to get out.
I think we tend to become complacent in life as we let go of what we really wanted to get out of it -- settling for what we think will do at the time. We feel the need to compromise when others are involved like spouses or children. However, I’ve learned we don’t have to compromise everything we wanted for ourselves. We don’t have to lose who we are and we don’t have to give up our dreams for someone else’s.
I realize my mistake was to allow someone else be in complete charge of my happiness. I need to maintain control over that. This definitely isn’t to say someone can’t be the reason for my happiness, because I know now that’s absolutely possible. A lot of my happiness can be found through writing and I plan to do a lot more of it. I plan to share my experiences -- both good and bad -- no filters. Hiding who I am and curbing what I want to write about no longer has a place in my blog. I’ve made a lot of self-discoveries over this past year and I’ve become someone I am proud of. It’s been quite a journey and I plan to share it.
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.