The more you've gone through, the more you can teach others. The less you've gone through, the more you should let people teach you.
I don't how many times I have looked at a person's situation that I would not want in my own life and speculated on what I'd do if I were them.
It's my favorite thing that I don't do anymore.
But I do know how many times I've looked at a person's situation that I would like very much to have in my life and have had not the first idea of how to get it.
I don't want to do that anymore.
Recently, I posted this observation on Facebook: For everything I don't do or say anymore, there is something I haven't learned yet.
A few months ago, in that spirit, I decided to finish my degree in Psychology. I will start in the fall. I will attend full-time and on campus. It will take a year.
This unset jello of an idea formed while I sat in the Mass General lobby waiting to visit a friend. I watched these young, dynamic surgeons floating around, and remembered when I went to college there in Boston, completely unprepared to see it through which I didn't.
I recall that lack of resolve with difficulty, the way you hear a song you know by heart, without remembering why it once moved you.
I have that resolve now.
I have watched my four children receive their bachelor's degrees, and one her master's. I have been stung by the experience of failing to secure a job beneath my ability because I didn't push myself harder when it was me floating around the city, and should have.
I don't want any more should have.
One very early morning in January I thought about that stay or go juncture, what it represented, and what I couldn't do for a long time because of the choice I made. I thought about how exponentially hard subsequent attempts were after children came, and, I thought about what I couldn't have in common with them.
Couldn't say from where I graduated, but only where I "attended."
Couldn't check off the BA box, but only the "some college" one.
Couldn't secure an interview for a recruiter's position in a small hospital after I'd supervised the benefits department at a major hospital for three years.
Couldn't share stories with my son of crossing the same stage, degree in hand.
I don't want any more couldn't.
What if, I thought at first, that morning. With some musing, imagining, visualizing, loose planning, it became
Seriously. Why not?
I guarded this idea while it was still unset jello. I was fragile enough over the size of it that had anyone echoed my own doubts with a "Really? Why now? You seem to be doing well without it," I might have bailed.
I don't want to bail any more.
But the reaction to this from everyone – my husband, kids, friends, family – was sweet in the way it formed. First, a pause, a startled look, and then an expression which showed me how this idea looked through the eyes of people who care for me.
And, their words:
And, their words:
Thaaaaat's soooooooo awesome. – THAT is SO AWESOME!
You'll kill it, you will.
Oh my God, I am so proud of you
This won't end with a BA. You'll be Dr. Bonifant before it's over.
You're doing that. Okay. Good. I always hoped you would.
The reactions shouldn't have surprised me. Unlike I will, these people will not think more of me just because I moved to the next box.
But it came well after I'd already decided to commit and been accepted, and it came after I'd prepared a good three word response to the "Really? Why now?" reaction, even though later, I wondered why I'd even dignify with a response, a thing that only a perfect ass would say. But here it is anyway:
I need to.
Wish me luck.
I'm a little unsure.
I don't want to be unsure anymore.
I want to check a new box.