Fifteen years ago, I graduated from college. During the last 15 years, I applied and was accepted into three different graduate programs. One was a Buddhist school in Boulder where I tried a month-long meditation program that sent me running for the Vermont hills two days after it started. I was thirsty for a cosmopolitan and the permission to speak. It was not the right time nor was I in the correct frame of mind for this wonderful, albeit emotionally and mentally challenging, program.
Then there was the University of Denver for a degree in social work. That wasn’t going to work because I didn’t live in Denver. Finally, after getting married and moving to Tampa, I completed the application process once again and started Argosy University seeking to earn a MA in mental health. But having a full-time job, adjusting to life in Tampa, and taking two night classes felt too overwhelming and stressful. So I quit. And quitting gets a bad rap because it’s not always a bad idea, and it is not always about “giving up.” This time it was more about letting up and letting in as we wanted to start a family.
But I did wonder alone, and out loud, if I was ever going to get my master’s degree. I questioned my motivation for wanting one. Was I trying to prove something to myself or to someone else? I wanted a degree where I could “help people,” but I knew I didn’t need a degree for that. Was there a program that was even a good fit for me…unconventional, spiritual, with a curriculum based on mental and emotional wellness instead of a medical model focused on disease and illness?
But something kept me dreaming and yearning to work towards this goal.
And now, here I am, fifteen years later with a lot of life in between, and a heart full of gratitude, and a mind full of awe. I am sincerely thankful for those that helped me achieve this long time goal of going back to school. I have completed my graduate program, and what a ride it was!
Accomplishing this goal had a little to do with me and a whole lot to do with the people that helped me make it happen: My mother, brother, and sister; my mother and father-in-law, my husband and children, friends, classmates, and teachers. They babysat (for long periods of time like last year when I was in California for 10 days,) helped cover the cost of an expensive tuition, edited papers, listened, supported, encouraged, and never questioned me about the practical side of getting a degree in a field that the vast majority of people have never heard of.
Now I am creating and designing my own career. And I am scared, unsure, excited, and inspired about this new adventure. I read that Maya Angelou said once, “I created my life.” And create our lives we do. Sometimes it takes perseverance and other times it takes patience. Sometimes it takes faith in yourself and other times, faith in something much bigger than you. And there are moments when it helps to dig in and plow forward. But then it is also a good idea to sit back and “trust the process” on occasion.
And we are not meant to know what is at the end of every path, but creating a path worth walking on is what the journey is all about.