When I went back to school five years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would finish my undergrad degree by the time I hit 40. And lookie here—I managed to do it! At times I didn’t think it would ever happen, but after all the twists, turns, and many, many majors (business—what was I thinking), I can now stare at a very expensive piece of paper with my name and “Cum Laude” scrawled on it (yes, I am going to mention that as much as possible because, damn it, I can) and know that I really can accomplish stuff.
So now that grad school starts in a few weeks, I have decided to set some new goals for myself. None of them have to directly do with school this time, which makes me think that the changes are part of a greater mid-life crisis, but whatever the reason, here are the three things I want to achieve before I graduate with my next degree. Or sooner, because that would be nice.
- Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I mean this both personally and on a greater worldly scale. The latter is pretty self-explanatory—try and make the world a better place in some small way through love, respect, and humor. But personally—now that’s more difficult. I constantly compare myself to people I graduated high school with, or even younger than that, who have families, careers, and homes. While I am happy for them (assuming that I like them), I have to ask why am I the one with a job that I strongly dislike thatpays me well less than what I’m worth? Why am I the one who sleeps on my mother’s couch because I can’t afford a place of my own? Why am I the lonely one who will never have children? I need to stop doing all these comparisons and just hope that someday I’ll hop on the road that leads somewhere. I need to focus on bettering myself, and more importantly, learn to like myself a little; while I know I will never love myself, Isuppose it would be nice to not hate who I am quite as much as I do. I need to stop paying attention to the size label on clothes, and not worry if chopping off my hair and dying it purple and piercing my nose comes off as giant neon signs flashing “MID-LIFE CRISIS” (though at least I didn’t buy some douchey too-expensive car that I will drive too slowly on the highway!) I need to just do me and let everyone do them.
- Have the write stuff. (See what I did there?) When I chose my major for grad school, I went with the safer option of therapy, knowing there will always be a job for me someplace, instead of following my heart and choosing creative writing, justifying it by saying that a writer will write anywhere—a degree won’t change that. So now it’s time to put up or shut up. I started this blog, which as I have mentioned is a huge step for me. I am not a fan of my writing (to put it mildly), so throwing it out there, in such a public forum, and begging my friends to share it with strangers is terrifying. And then going all non-anonymous? Am I on drugs? Talk about anxiety—no cloaks to hide behind, no shadows to camouflage the imperfections. But if I am serious about this writing thing, I need to get over my fears, right? As John Dos Passos said in 1959, “If there is a special hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works,” so I guess I am in good company with not liking my own words. And maybe, just maybe, something I write along the way will touch or help someone. Speaking of writing…
- I will build a Writing Wonderland. This one is completely selfish and will do nothing to change the world, but between knowing that grad school will just about kill me, and really wanting to take this writing thing more seriously, I need a legit office area. I need one space that is my own, one place where I can feel comfortable and relax and have some very important privacy and quiet. There is a room in the basement that is used to store old furniture and forgotten memories, and I know with a bit of love and a lot of elbow grease, it could turn into just this place. I suppose this is the easiest goal to accomplish, I just need permission to start.
So, my loves, what are some of your 33% of the year to go resolutions? What do you want to change about yourself or add to the world? Comment and put it out in the universe!
PS – Oh, and I’m really going to use a planner this time. Really, really! I buy them constantly, use them for a few days, and then give up. Yes, I know, my phone has one, but I always forget to check. Plus there’s just something about paper—you young kids don’t understand. This one is pretty and has stickers and a gratitude journal and I AM going to use it!