Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Matriculation Anticipation

About a year ago, I wrote a post titled "Shame". Some of you may remember it. And many of you have read the various posts I have written about losing my sense of self amid the chaos of motherhood, struggling to find that identity again, and facing the fact that I am completely and totally dependant upon my husband.

I don't expect anything to happen, but nobody ever does. It's a truly frightening prospect.

How would I provide for my children? I would provide, of that there is no question. I am a strong, intelligent, resourceful and determined woman. But the cold hard reality is that I would probably be forced to do work that is unsatisfying at best, exhausting and demeaning at worst.

When I was young, I carved out a place for myself in the professional arena through hard work, calculated choices, and some good old fashioned ass kissing. But it wasn't easy, and it wasn't quick. And there were times that I was passed over for positions, projects and accolades that I deserved because I did not have a piece of paper with my name and some letters after it.

Still, I was proud of what I had achieved despite my lack of a formal education. I was respected. People thought I was smart and capable. I earned a decent paycheck. And that was enough.

I don't have the time or the patience for that now. I'm too old. I'm too opinionated. And ass kissing isn't something that comes easily to me anymore. Not that it ever did. Nor is being ordered about by some pimple faced lackey on a power trip. Or doing mindless busywork.

And I don't think that it would be enough anymore.

So, what to do? What to do.

I've been ruminating, contemplating. Obsessing, if you want to know the truth. I've tried this, I've considered that. I've dabbled. But I haven't found that thing, yet. That thing that makes me feel that YES, this is for me.

Writing is what I was meant to do. Unquestionably. But how to translate that into a life, a career, an identity?

I've looked at writing groups, writing workshops, writing courses. They all looked good. Validating. Fulfilling. But I have to tell you, I was and am intimidated. Not because I can't write. I'm not going to insult you by feigning modesty. I am a competent writer. I am a good writer. And I know that.

But I have no credentials. Of any kind. And that bothers me. Whether it should or shouldn't is really immaterial, because it does. That it is what it is. And it's time to fix what it is.

So. At the age of 38, I am going to go to college. Actually, 39, as I will probably not start until the fall semester.

That scares the living shit out of me.

But it also gives me a feeling of anticipation and excitement that I haven't experienced for a very long time.

I will be majoring in English...natch. And maybe, if I can actually tough it out long enough to earn a Bacherlor's degree, I will go on to earn my Masters of Arts in Professional Writing. How. Cool. Is. That?

I have to say, that I am an enormously fortunate woman to be able to do this. I don't have to worry about trying to manage homework on top of a full time job, motherhood and household responsibilities. It's still going to be a bit of a juggling act, but at least I will have fewer balls in the air than the average Jane.

When I finally decided I was resolved enough to talk to my husband about it, he said, "That's GREAT, baby. We can do this. YOU can do this. Let's get the ball rolling."

When I mentioned the cost, he assured me we would find a way.

You know, he's used to having clean socks and underwear appear magically in his drawer. He's used to a certain pace that our lifestyle affords us. He's used to a clean house, and clean kids. He's used to me having my finger in every pie that I need to.

And he did not, for one moment, consider how that might change before giving me his unconditional support.

The boys were very encouraging as well. But Diminutive One was somewhat concerned that he might have to go to ASP (After school program). The kids call ASP "After School Prison" and I can't blame them. It is run much as one would imagine a maximum security detainment facility might be run. And depending upon my class schedule, it's possible that he will have to go to ASP once or twice a week.

Husband told the boys gently, but emphatically, "Boys, we can make some sacrifices so that Mom can go to school. Mom has sacrificed a LOT for us, and God knows she doesn't do anything for herself. This is important to her, and we're going to do everything we can to help her do it."

You know, I've made my own choices and I've made them willingly, eagerly. They didn't feel like sacrfices when I made them. In fact, I felt, once again, extremely lucky. But somewhere along the way, I did sacrifice myself without even realizing it. I began to live my life as only a mother instead of an individual. Their lives became my life.

It felt good to have that acknowledged. And it felt good to have someone acknowledge the fact that it's okay to want more for myself. Because as much as I hate that I have allowed motherhood to usurp everything else, I still wrestle with my conscience when it comes to putting myself first, and how that reflects upon me as a mother.

So. I'm going to college. Man. It's going to be...weird. And wonderful. And exciting. And frightening.

I don't know whether to dance a jig or throw up.

But at least I'm feeling something other than boredom, apathy, and purposelessness.

I'll take it.

52 Comments:

  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger Unmana said…

    This is great! All the best!

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations! I took the roundabout way to higher education myself. I did not get an undergrad degree and it started coming back to bite me in my 40's. All the interesting jobs required degrees. I was still too stubborn to do the undergrad degree as it required me to take courses I was not remotely interested in and would never use. So, I applied to a masters degree program and wrote a masterpiece outlining my life, world, and career experiences and how they demonstrated my ability, capability, and intellect. It went to a review board and I was accepted. I gotta tell you though, there were some big gaps that would have been filled by an undergrad experience, but I worked my ass off and got up to speed. I send you this because you might not be aware that it is possible to challenge your way into programs and also challenge courses in which you may already be adept. I did not know about a professional writer's degree...maybe I will go get me one!

     
  • At 8:18 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    Congrats!
    Pol x

     
  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Wonderful!! I am very happy for you, and you have a terrific family to support you. You can, and will do great. I went to college at 30 as a single, working mother. It took me 5 years to get a dual Bachelor's, but it might be, aside from my daughter, the thing I am most proud of. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

     
  • At 8:54 AM, Blogger All Things BD said…

    Awesome! Good for you. And is it wrong that my first thought was "Oh, think of all the great posts she'll be doing on college life"?

     
  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Traci said…

    Dance a jig AND throw up.:) You are going to be AWESOME. I don't know you, but I know your writing and talent and have a sense of your grit, and you are going to love college (it's addicting, really). Don't worry about the credentials, girl. They will come, and hard work adn determination still goes a loooong way. My one bit of advice: get to know your professors. Not to kiss ass, but to associate with them and learn from them in other places besides the classroom/lecture hall. Take advantage of their office hours and have them mull over papers and ideas with you. They have "ins" into great opportunities and can offer wonderful perspective on the world of professional writing/marketable job skills and putting yourself out there. I waited much too long to get to know my teachers and was so amazed (the last semester) what a difference it makes in the whole college experience when they know more about you than your name on the roll.

    P.S. Your husband is a rock star. I'd be really jealous except I have one, too. :) Master's degree on Mother's Day this year, thanks to him.

     
  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger Sober Briquette said…

    Won't it be fun to go shopping for school supplies - for yourself?

    (do people still take notes, or are you supposed to bring a laptop? gah!)

     
  • At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Doug said…

    Sounds like you have a wonderful husband and a supportive family. Probably the hardest thing to remember is that the same level of whatever (socks, cooking, housecleaning, etc.) does NOT have to be maintained. I'm sure you realize this, but putting it into practice is mighty difficult. You are not a bad mother despite teh guilt that will no doubt be there.

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger KT said…

    You will likely throw up WHILE dancing the jog. Congrats. That is cool news. And sounds like you have one helluva a decent husband. Go enjoy carving out a space in the world that is all your own. You definitely deserve it.

     
  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Good for you, Mama!! So excited for you!

    And for the "what if" in the mean time, worrying about how to provide for your kids ~ get a nice juicy life insurance policy. Term ones are super cheap and good for while the kids are still dependent on you guys. Trust me when I tell you, it makes you feel *much* better about the what if's.

    And selfishly, I hope your going to school doesn't mean we get to hear from you less frequently... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! :)

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous andi said…

    That program looks awesome! Congratulations. I think it's so great that you're doing something for yourself - once you get into the routine I bet it won't be scary at all.

    I do write for a living, but would love to go back to school to get my Master's. Mostly because I'm bored with the stuff I'm currently writing at work and want to open up more possibilities.

     
  • At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Amy Nathan said…

    Way to go! A college program seems like a great fit for you.

    I am wondering what ever happened to that writers group though? That seemed good too.

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    AWESOME!!

    And seriously, if I lived close enough I'd come over and hug your husband. He ROCKS.

     
  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger Sensitiva McFeelingsly said…

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    I have been a longtime fan of your blog, although not a frequent commenter (sorry, I know that's totally gauche).

    But I felt moved to comment today for a couple of reasons: First, I want to compliment you on your writing. I am a lover of language, and although my talents are not up to scratch with my want to succeed as a writer, I am continually inspired to keep trying by the grace with which you write. It is always the moments in art that seem effortless that are truly inspiring for me.

    Second, I felt connected to your post today because of a similarity in experience. I'm a 26 year old office worker without a college education. I plan to go back to school full-time as soon as my husband and I can afford it (and hopefully before we are lucky enough to have a family), but I can definitely sympathize with the ridiculous need people have to remind you that without that very expensive piece of paper known as a degree you aren't really a peer. I feel it often in my job, and understand completely how degrading it can be when others assume that you are not on their level because you didn't go to an institution and sleepwalk through a majority of your classes (which is what all of my college-educated friends tell me is true for the majority of folks).

    So, the best of luck to you! I sincerely hope that you have the time of your life and come out of it with an even better grasp of the art you are already so adept at displaying. :)

     
  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    Yay for you! I started college at age 30 and I love school. Can't wait to go back one of these days. Had I gone to college at 18, I would have not done well. The teachers love older students who are serious about learning.

    I urge you to think of your education as a path to enlightenment rather than employment. Enjoy learning and the mental stretch regardless of what the future holds for you in terms of work.

     
  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger Kevin Charnas said…

    RIGHT ON!! BRAVA!! BRAVA, I SAY!!

    And Bravo to your fantastic husband. He certainly is the shizz, isn't he?

    "Genius, the trait that dazzles human eyes, is oft but perseverance in disguise." - I forget who said it...But, thought you might like it.

     
  • At 11:40 AM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    kudos to you. it doesn't matter what your degree is in, the fact remains a degree will make you a more attractive candidate for any job. (mine is, absurdly enough, in liberal arts, which is only slightly less useless than "theatre" or "english.") as for how to pay for it--get loans, but only only only take out what you need for tuition and fees. or you'll be stuck in my rut (6 years post-grad with enough student loan debt in forebearance to buy a small house).

     
  • At 12:07 PM, Blogger Mad Hatter said…

    Oh, wonderful! This will be a fabulous adventure (and cranky-making and tiresome) but fabulous nonetheless. You'll also be all the professors' favourite. Having a mature student--an actual grown-up--in the class is every college and university professor's dream. One as articulate as you? That'll be a boon!

     
  • At 12:08 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    Girl, that rocks! First, I had no clue you had no degree. You write like you have three.

    Second, I would have gotten SO much more out of college had I gone when I was older. Maybe I should...

     
  • At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Veronica Mitchell said…

    That is so exciting. Congratulations.

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    Cool! I'm glad for you and impressed with your determination. And what a great supportive family you have. I agree with Wheelsonthebus that college would probably be more meaningful now that I'm older. I always intended to get a master's degree, but life got in the way. I've toyed with the idea of going back. Maybe I will.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I could not be more proud of you. You have totally inspired me today.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    Good for you! I've been waiting for this sort of announcement from you I'll certainly be here cheering you on!

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger sara said…

    this is great-- great for you, great for your kids to see you as a student, great for so many reasons.

    my husband's back at school as a full-time grad student at nearly 40 years old with three young kids. it's weird & wonderful, but just how do you say 'no' to such a thing? so we all said 'yes'. wonderful that you said 'yes' as well and your family agreed!

     
  • At 1:37 PM, Anonymous OmegaMom said…

    ALRIGHT! Woot! You go, girl!

    Let me tell you, if you go back to college as an "older" student, you get a boatload more out of it than if you go straight out of high school. Trust me, I know, having BTDT.

    You'll do great!

     
  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Traci said…

    Your husband is a keeper. When you finish this degree, all the internets will be cheering.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    I am so happy for you! My mother went back for a second degree to switch careers when my sister and I were around the same ages as your boys and she is graduating with her masters in May! Your family will support you and I think it is wonderful.

     
  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger JaniceNW said…

    Dang. You've got a fab hubby. I'm about to get my AA after um, 8 years in undergrad. I went to university right out of hs. Got into a destructive realtionship. Spent 5 years at a great university wasting money, because I was being mentally abused and believed the ahole that I was worthless, couldn't succeed and deserved nothing better then him. Finally dumped his ass, met dh married him 6 months later and now at 21 yrs of marriage and 3 years of community college and 2 teenagers I'll have a degree. I'll be in nursing school in the fall, hopefully(still waiting for damn letter)and will go on to help people soon. I'm 46 on Monday.

    You will rock! I have no doubts.

     
  • At 2:46 PM, Blogger Life As I Know It said…

    That's great! Good for you, and congratulations.

    I believe that if something is a little scary then it is definitely worth doing. Otherwise, it would just be boring.

    Good luck!

     
  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Hairline Fracture said…

    Good for you! Your husband is a great guy (just like mine.) I think you will LOVE college, more than you would have at 18.

     
  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Great News! You are such a fine writer, with such a gift. You'll totally rock in this program. I used to teach in a similar program and Northeastern University and you are the student of my dreams. Rarely did I see someone with such raw talent, and I know you're going to love it!

    I'm very proud of you.

     
  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger Jaime said…

    congratulations. good for you

     
  • At 6:02 PM, Blogger jen said…

    BA! You phenomenal BADASS!

    you are going to rock it, sister.

     
  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    glad you found your "Thing" you'll rock.

     
  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    That is the best news I've heard all day! For real.

    I'm so happy for you.

     
  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Yippee!

    I was so happy to read this! I'm so thrilled for you!

    You are going to be the dream student of more than one professor! You do have so much innate writing talent; professors will drooooooool when they start reading your work.

    Your husband does rock. I'd expect nothing less from the man you chose to marry.

    Congratulations!

     
  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger kevin said…

    You will shine. I also think this choice sets a prime example for your sons.

    There's nothing magical about a degree (well, not one in French anyway) but the different classes you take will give your writing further opportunities to stand out and develop. Wait until you see the competition. I promise you, you'll feel much better after day one.

    I don't mean for that to sound like a back-handed compliment either. I'm serious. I think you'll be surprised how much you have to offer that others simply do not.

    Bless their hearts.

     
  • At 10:58 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Oh I do bet you are excited.
    There is nothing like going back to school for something you know you want.

     
  • At 12:08 AM, Blogger anne said…

    Oh, good for you! What an exciting thing to look forward to.

    Make sure you buy the kewlest Trapper Keeper!

     
  • At 3:04 AM, Blogger Kerry McKibbins said…

    That is terrific news, good for you!
    I just decided this past week that I'm going to back for my Masters - at age 41.

     
  • At 4:29 AM, Blogger Kathryn in NZ said…

    Woohoo!! Awesome awesome awesome.

     
  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Yay!!! You are truly inspiring for us other 'at home' moms who wonder if there is 'life' after the kids get a bit older.

     
  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Good for you! You will do great!

     
  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Magi said…

    Sorry I'm late on the bandwagon, but I did want to say, "you go, girl!"

    I was 37 when I went back to college and changed my career. It's scary and hard, but oh so worth it.

    I wish you all the best in your new journey!

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I went to college at 40. I loved it. Being older DOES mean you are smarter, more organized, more motivated - which gives you a huge edge over the younguns.

    I more than doubled my income instantly. It was great. I also had FUN.

    I am proud of you.

     
  • At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Sandra said…

    Hooray!!! This is outstanding news. I admire you more than you can possibly know for doing this. I can't wait to hear all about it and I couldn't be happier for you and this next amazing chapter of your story :)

     
  • At 12:27 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    I am thrilled for you. THRILLED. And grateful that you have the family you do, one that immediately offered you unconditional support.

    You are going to ROCK this new chapter in your life!

     
  • At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    BA, this is great. I'm very proud of you for knowing what you want and having the courage despite your fears to go back to school.

     
  • At 1:59 AM, Blogger the mad momma said…

    congratulations!!! I hope I have the courage to do something similar someday. I am sure you will rock college :) and I am sure home will survive without you - even if socks arent where they are supposed to be.

     
  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said…

    You are going to be amazing. Your genius begs for an outlet.

     
  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    Just catching up here. First of all, you are a brave woman. Every time I think about going back to school, fear strikes me down and I push the thought wayyyyyy back in my mind. Secondly, your husband is amazing. Congrats on both points.

     
  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger Baroness von Bloggenschtern said…

    Countess BA: I'm just trying to catch up on my post reading - and this one just hit me like a bolt from the blue. The struggle you wrote about could have been taken out of a page of the daily rambling of the Baroness. Wow. You're now my new hero for actually doing what I'm only mulling over, coming up with a million excuses on how it can't possibly work. I wish you great success and fulfillment; I think from reading your posts, that you are so right - this is something you were born to do.

     

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