Thursday, May 28, 2009

Growing Pains

I was admitted to the university yesterday. Soon, I will receive my acceptance letter in the mail and set up my course schedule for the fall. I filled out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) today. I am completely excited at the prospect of doing something new with my life but at the same time having an, "Oh shit!" moment. It's actually happening. I'm about to be a student again (!) .
Once I know my course schedule, I will have to talk to my boss about what going back to school means for my job. Knowing that I will have to quit my job one way or another has been the biggest downer of this process. In all honesty, the balance between the rewards my job and the responsibilities of my job is so off kilter it seems ludicrous to have any sort of qualm about walking away. Nevertheless, the bittersweet side (seeing the fruits of my labor go to someone else who will probably rock this job out) hits me and I feel like a quitter and a failure. Sometimes, I take the self-pity even further and hate myself for not trying harder at the subjects I struggled with in school because I like to think I might have chosen a wiser career had I felt smarter or more capable at other subjects. How's that for your ego getting in your way? I am surprised that letting go of something I will never progress any further in has me in such a twist that I am picking at myself but changing careers has required an astonishing amount of personal growth and my natural instinct is to dig my heels in against the change.
It is within the realm of possibility that my boss will want me to continue working here for whatever time I can before the demands of going back to school really take over but I am having a hard time discerning if that's what I want. Even if I were to do this job part-time, I suspect the demand would be the same. I am the only person on staff fielding requests in this particular area of expertise so all matters pertaining to that subject get channeled through my office regardless of the guidelines set by the agency. I won't tell you how ugly it can get when someone has the expectation that you can fix their problem and you have to tell them you don't have the solution they've decided on.
I found a surprising source of encouragement for my desire to move on while thumbing through a recent issue of Men's Health magazine at Axl's apartment. I read Ewan McGregor's Tips For a Full Life and though I am only talking about going back to school here and not the possibility of being robbed at gunpoint in Mexico (as Ewan was), his point that "You can't be ruled by fear -- not by other people's, and certainly not by your own." struck a chord with me. Sign me up. Hells yes, I want to live a full life. I think we all have our definitions of what that means but, for me, today, it is simply that I want to do the stuff that makes me happy, to disregard the naysayers, be brave and trust myself and then go about doing the stuff I enjoy doing.
I am having to change a lot of my preset notions about myself and my life and that's scary and hard at times but I'm noticing as I let go of stuff, whether it's people's expectations of me or actual material belongings, I feel so much better. So much lighter. Truer. Younger. Happier. Challenging myself or, I should probably say, responding to Axl's gentle needling to do the things I'm always saying I'm going to do (or should do) has actually been fun and that has been one of the biggest surprises (blessings, gifts) of all.

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