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From Midlife to Midterms

My Why

· Freshman Year

I don't have too many regrets. Sometimes I regret having too much ice cream or not catching a movie in the theater, but for the most part I view my "mistakes" as growth and figure the past is the past.

Except for one. Going to college.

That one has been nagging me for a while. It's kind of like when Annie Potts in Pretty In Pink describes how her friend feels about the not attending her high school prom.

"I have this girlfriend who didn't go to hers, and every once in a while, she gets this really terrible feeling--you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, and then she checks her keys. She counts her kids, she goes crazy, and then she realizes that nothing is missing. She decided it was side effects from skipping the prom."

That's how I feel about skipping college. Really terrible. Made even more terrible after a recent job search and finding job after job where I could have done the work with my eyes closed yet I was missing just one, little, important piece. That piece? A piece of paper that says "Bachelor's Degree" on it.

A terrible feeling doesn't begin to describe it.

Never mind the fact that I really want to grow as writer. I want to be critiqued, learn different methods, try different genres and network with other writers. Now before you get all crazy on me with "you don't have to go to college to do THAT!" Yes, I know. But I want to. And apparently I need to if I want to find a job that pays more than the average high schooler makes at Mickey D's.

The suggestion to go to school really was, huh? Was that even an option? At the ripe old age of forty-something was that something I should even do? Yes, I know that people do this all the time but this is me we are talking about. I would be how old when I graduated? Pretty darn old. Would employers even hire someone that old? My recent graduate friend of my age assures me they will. Apparently I have "life experience" and boy do I. What would I even major in? Can I major in "life experience" and get BA with a focus on real world?

That's when my ENFP (good old Myers Briggs) kicks in...I could be an art director, a firefighter, an astronaut, a painter, a sculptor, a film editor, a better writer, an author, a film critic, or I could even MAKE a film...

Of course, reality eventually won the day, and an English degree stood victorious. Reading and writing is what I love, and what I would do even if I didn't get paid. And wasn't that always how you were supposed to pick a career? The something you would do even if you didn't money for it?

So, I went school supply shopping, which I have to admit was always my favorite part of school. Here's a tip, don't ever go backpack shopping at the start of summer. It was slim pickings, either a red and blue daisy printed backpack presumably for a middle schooler, or a hiking-the-himalayans variety suitable for a sherpa. I chose the daisies, who was I kidding. I threw far too many notebooks into my cart, which never ended up being used, and now live with the rest of the journals, sketchbooks, composition notebooks, and random spiral books in the stationary graveyard on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. Another useful tip about choosing the right notebook coming later. And no, my recommendation isn’t a trapper keeper, although if retro is your thing then rock on.

What transformation would be complete without the requisite visit to the salon. Five inches off the old locks. Perhaps it was all the split ends and styling time that were holding back after all.

And as the every insightful Coco Chanel said "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life."

Stay tuned, it’s going to get good.

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