Sunday, October 7, 2007

How Did I End Up Here?

When I was a kid, way back when, I never thought of myself as being someone who would be a SAHM/student at thirty-two years old. It's true. I had these grandiose, LA Law-type dreams of where I would be at this age and, let me tell you, none of them encompassed living in my hometown raising two kids, still working on my first degree. Uh-uh. I was going to take the world by storm, pardon the cliche. What happened?

Well, life happened. I went to college with little idea as to what to be and found that beer was way more fun than class. I made really cool friends who taught me how to bong beer, shotgun beer and do shots. Lots and lots of shots. These same friends also introduced me a time or two to the area Police (just for questions about others, longtime friends) and lots of campus security. For a girl who left high school with great expectations (see the literary reference there? Clever, huh?) and lots of potential, I was headed nowhere fast. Really. Fast.

As a child of an alcoholic, I recognized that it wasn't normal for a previously non-drinking person to be able to keep up with the 25 year old career frat boys in drinking games. Nor was it normal to not be really hungover after doing so. I was also a little embarrassed by my dismal performance academically. So, after 3 semesters at this university, I came home and attended the local branch of Ohio University.

I still did not do well. I took a job with the local newspaper and it absorbed insane amounts of my time, taking away from my studies. I should be honest here, though, I wasn't interested in school at the time. It required a lot of time that I had never had to put into school work before. I was a good student in high school and did little to get the grades I had. This does not translate into higher learning, even for us seemingly intelligent folk. So, being fairly lazy, I just bombed away in school. Horribly.

Eventually, I dropped out altogether. Surprised? I was. Surprised. And embarrassed. See, I was the kid in high school who was not only going places, I was really vocal about it. Obnoxious, even. Always, I swore to myself (and my dad, who took a great deal of stock in my going to college) that I would return and get a degree. Any degree. Just finish!

Well, when I took my sabbatical from college, I worked a handful of awful jobs and met my future husband and fell madly in love. (Gag me with a spoon, right?) Well, I did. We were in a great hurry to marry and begin a family. So, we did. Then my excuse for not returning to school was Her Highness. Who was going to take care of her if I were in class? Then, there are always financial concerns. How could I justify taking that money from my family when I had done so poorly in the past?

Truthfully, though? I was scared. To. Death. I was only getting older. I didn't want to be the old person in class because those people are always obnoxious. I also worried about fitting in and looking terribly out of place. Mostly, though, I worried about failing. Again. I just didn't know if my fragile self-esteem could take another blow like that. I still thought of myself as "smart" but what if, gasp, I wasn't really? What if I was just lucky in a mediocre high school?

But, eventually, RxMan encouraged and poked and prodded and insisted and I relented. I now love school. As I stare down graduation, I worry about leaving the safe cocoon that has become my forever education. Should I go to grad school? Can we afford it? I also really don't know what to do with this degree that I am pursuing. I want to write but who really makes any sort of living doing that? And, am I talented enough?

But, this all began with How Did I End Up Here? Well, through a series of choices that weren't always great, it is true. But, honestly, I am pretty happy overall. I am a much better student this time around and appreciate the opportunity to learn way more than I did as a twenty year old. I love my children. And my RxMan. Is it the path I foresaw? Lord, no. But, man, I wouldn't have it any other way.


WorksForMom said...

Wow, that was so interesting to read Toni. Thanks for sharing that. Isn't it amazing how you have illusions of one thing and get something entirely else? :)

The Egel Nest said...

Very interesting read...

In your case, the great expectations was not JUST a literary reference...

I just finished grad school (Masters) while doing the SAHD thing...

You can definitely do it..

And even if you don't...look at the wonderful legacy you are leaving the world with your family!!!

The Egel Nest

SAHMmy Says said...

Your story reflects my life--until you went back to school :) I'm one semester shy of an English degree but now that I'm a SAHM, what's the point? If I get bored when the kiddos go to school I'll revisit the topic.