April 10, 2014

The Learning Curve

OK, so you know how a while back I said this year would be as good as I can make it?  Having remarried and found some much needed stability?  Weeeellll.  It looks like things are coming together more than I ever expected.

I registered, paid my admin fee, and was accepted back into the University that I quit so many years ago.  I am also eligible for school funds through the Veteran's Administration.

I think I'm in shock.  No.  I know I'm in shock.

You see I wasn't looking to go back into a degree plan.  I just wanted to take a couple of classes on metal working...nothing fancy.  Those classes, however, are offered as part of a curriculum, therefore are the standard rate if taken alone.  There is no way I could afford a $750 class, much less three of them.  After some panic and some tears, I began to look over the university website and found a link for veterans.  I perused and found a link to a GI bill that I never knew existed.  Lo and behold.  Something I'm eligible for, didn't have to pay into, and is very accepted at the university.  I think that's when the excitement and shock officially set in.  This is a very real possibility.  Wait...not a possibility...a reality....

Then of course the questions started.  "Is this real??" Honey: "yes baby, as real as it gets."  "Is it OK?? Do you mind?  I won't be able to work as much...."   Honey:  "yes baby, it's fine, go better yourself.  We worked around the girls' school schedule, we'll work around yours.  Go.  Go get smarter.  Get smarter than your ole man."  "But what if..."  Honey: "Stop.  It's all fine."

Floored?  Yeah.  Scared?  Yeah.  Freaked out?  Yeah.  Happy?  Ecstatic.

Worry sets in when I see things going well.  It weirds me out.  That's probably the most irrational thought I've ever expressed but it's true.  Not that things haven't worked out for me in the past, it's just I've always had to sort of fight for them.  Things that I believed were good or meant to be sometimes turned out a bit not so great.  I have to remind myself from time to time that I was not in a great place back then.  The things that have been on my correct path have all fallen into place.  Not everything was a cake walk but those did work out well over time.  Some people have the notion that I come by goals and whatnot easily...that's not true.  I do have to push and fight and try my hardest to have the things that mean a lot to me.  I panic, I run from them, I look for every loophole before doing anything so as not be blindsided by it later.  As much as it looks like I jump into everything with both feet...there's a ton of behind the scenes research that goes into everything I attempt.  I have allowed others and myself to let me down too many times not to be cautious.

I do believe in betterment, I also believe I am capable of literally anything.  If there is any lesson I came away from boot camp with...it's that one.  It doesn't matter how big or small the task is, if you really want it, you will find a way to make it happen.  If the timing is correct it will go smoothly, if the timing is a little off you're going to have to fight a little for it.  Do I have regrets?  Sure.  Plenty of them.  But they don't keep me from pushing forward and making my mark on the world.  So. Back to school with this mid-30's mother of one.  Taking that time in the Corps and making into something more than a 4 year haze of poor decisions and roller coaster emotions.

This New Life is taking some getting used to.  Honey mentioned something one evening after a typical episode.  He told me that in my former life I got used to being the stronger one, the bread winner, etc.  In this life, he is willing to do those things I that felt compelled to do.  He works two jobs in order to balance out our household.  I hate that he works so much, but I know in the back of my mind it's: a. necessary and b. what he feels he must do for the greater good.  I'm learning to appreciate the things he does and pick up the slack when I must.  Even though that is the notion I was raised with that isn't the example I saw.  I saw my mom work herself from sunup to well after sundown to provide, care for, and pick up the slack.  I'm not saying my father was a lazy man, he wasn't, what I'm saying is she took the reigns and ran far and fast with them.  That's the example I have lived by for so long.  It's no secret I have been envious of the women around me who have been able to quit working after a few years or children or who have not had to do more than a part time job to stretch the budget a bit.

Festival International de Louisiane

Is a degree in Visual Arts frivolous?  Maybe.  In this culture, in this town though?  Maybe not.  Where we live is a mecca of high brow, high end lifestyle.  Great art sells.  Original jewelry sells.  Each festival throughout the year boasts local vendors with their paintings, stained glass, ceramics, jewelry, sewing, sculpture, housewares....and they make a mint.  This isn't about money for me, I have that, I can make that, money is fluid.  This is about accomplishments, finishing something.  Having something to brag on besides surviving Marine Corps boot camp and war.  I have no fears that pursuing this is a good idea, I am simply nervous at the notion of something so big looming in front of me.

So, I will take it one semester at a time.  Slow and steady till the work is done.  I am in a far better place in every sense this time around.  I have the means, the drive, and the discipline to complete the task.

Cheers to new life, new goals, new Liz.

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