“Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. Too late for second-guessing. Too late to go back to sleep. It's time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: and leap! It's time to try defying gravity. I think I'll try defying gravity kiss me goodbye. I am defying gravity and you won’t bring me down! I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so some things I cannot change. But till I try, I'll never know! Too long I've been afraid of losing love I guess I've lost. Well, if that's love. It comes at much too high a cost!”- Defying Gravity (Wicked)
A writer? A musician? A fashion designer? A pilot? A police officer? A doctor? A lawyer? An astronaut? What did you want to be when you grew up? None of those things? All of those things? I remember wanting to be an interior designer. I loved (and still do) putting things together. I liked the idea of making the place where people lived look nice. As if it was yesterday, I can remember being in the car with my Dad and telling him so. I can’t remember where we were going. But I remember we were on the service road of a local highway near our home. I remember he said, that’s not very practical and you have be very lucky and special to make it. Now whether this man meant to make me feel like I was unlucky or unspecial he let me know that he didn’t think it was in my best interest to go down the route to interior design. Ok. Well so much for that then. I was 10.
When I got older I thought I would be a good psychiatrist. My grandmother said to me, a psychiatrist? No honey, that’s a doctor for crazy people. You’ll end up like one of those people. You don’t want that. I didn’t want that. To be crazy. So much for that also. I was 15.
When I was older still, I decided that law school was for me. I wanted to be a poverty lawyer and help people. My father was appalled. WHAT? Poverty? Pauvreté? Poor people? Poor people can’t pay! How will you make ANY money? I had never even thought of that. How WOULD I get paid? I was at a loss. I was a freshman in college and really thought that law school was something I would be good at and enjoy. My father’s advice was for me to learn how to do “something” and get a job where the money was good and steady and I wouldn’t have to worry. Let me tell you, I found this really scary. It all became too much to even think about and I dropped out of school all together. I was 21.
Not finishing school has been, by far, the biggest regret of my life. I am so embarrassed about my lack of education. It feels like a scar. I missed out on some great learning experiences. Living in dorms, making friends, having the opportunity to be silly and run amuck the way people do when they are in their 20’s. I’ve always known that I want to finish college. A few years ago I decided that I should stop just being embarrassed and do something about it. Whether or not I did something about it, the time would pass me by. It’s better to have the time work for you, with you than just be tossed out like nothing. Yes, better to have something to show for how you have spent your time than not. I have way too much of that in my life, time wasted. Now, I know me, I know who I am and what I am like. When something seems too big, I just let it go. (Yes, I’m working that.) I knew that I needed a definitive midway point, so I opted to get my Associates degree first. Over the past few years, I’ve been chipping (albeit slowly) away at my degree. I have to admit not always being into it, trying that hard or even doing that well. But for better or for worse I kept at it. Last month my advisor let me know that I would be getting my AA in Liberal Arts this May. I’ll be 40.
It look a lot longer than I would have liked, but I’m close enough to the end of the first part of my journey that I’m feeling sort of… proud of myself. I haven’t done it, but I am doing it. Obviously, I’m not done, and I want to keep going. What’s more, I’ve finally decided what I would like to be when I grow up. I’ve decided to go on and become a Social Worker. Why? I think that some people don’t have a voice. Either they are too young, poor, elderly, sick, or scared. They need someone who wants to make sure they have what they need in order to live the best possible life they can. The thought of making someone’s life better appeals to me greatly. My overall snarkiness and pessimism aside, I do care about what happens to people and would like the opportunity to be a part of a solution. It took me a long time to get here and it will take me a long time to get…there. (Where ever “there” is.) I know that I owe it to myself to be, do and feel better about myself. I'll be...doesn't really matter, does it?