I have written myself out. After just one semester of graduate studies, I am drained. It’s not quite done yet, but after a two-hour plus final exam tomorrow night, it will be over until late January. As an undergraduate, that five week break between semesters seemed entirely too long. I no longer feel that way - it is a much-needed respite from the rigor. Although I am looking forward to next semester and continuing my education in general, I also must admit that I seriously underestimated the effort it would take to succeed.
I will not be so naïve next year.
There will be two more graduate classes and two more major papers due next semester. The time to start working on them is now. Yes, now. True, I do not know yet what the topics will be, but I do know the general areas of study and that anything I can do to prepare over the next few weeks will be that much less I have to do later. This has never been my MO, but circumstances have necessitated a change in behavior. It’s really about survival, and I am a survivor.
After tomorrow night, I will be able to begin that yearly ritual that comes for many at this time of year. It will be a time for reflection, for assessment and to look forward. Despite the stresses of grad school, I am content. My life today is good and there is much to look forward to. The events of the distant past, many of which were not so pleasant, are well behind me and those of the more recent past have propelled me to where I am today. I now know what to expect and, more importantly, I can now say that I have done this before.
It’s about experience.
This post represents the 365th published on the 25 Year Plan. Tomorrow marks this blog’s third anniversary. December 18th is also the six-month mark in a relationship with a very special woman… but that is all I will say about that here. I will say that life is a funny thing sometimes. When all seemed so dark in most every conceivable assessment just eight short years ago, it is barely recognizable today. It’s as though I have traversed into a new dimension - kicking and screaming along the way sometimes, but grateful that I have arrived all the same.
I am 46 years old. I did a little of this and a little of that for a very long time. Today, much of that experience has turned to gold. There is something to be said about living it and then learning it. I wouldn’t recommend it, but there are benefits that are otherwise missed when following tradition. And, it would appear that I had little choice in the matter. Yes, I would always claim that I was in control, these were my decisions and (my personal favorite), I know what’s best for me. But in reflection, the only way for me to have arrived at the place I am was through my (often painful) experience.
And I have arrived.