Well here it is another semester in the never-ending saga of people going to school. The difference with me is that I’ve been here once before. I’ve been through the college thing, but it’s been about 15 years. OK, so I’m nuts.
Not that I’m in horribly errant company here. As I look around, there are lots of people my age, or even older, messing around in the hallowed halls of this auspicious institution. OK so I don’t feel SO bad.
The first time I was around the college thing, the concept of being a “non-traditional student” was something horrible. You were supposed to go to college when you were “young”, graduate after having one beer too many in the frat house, not remember half of the stuff you studied, but then throw your mortarboard up in the air, get kicked in the fanny, and into your exciting life of white-shirt-and-tie drugery in some cube farm, whilst attaching yourself to your wife, your kids, and your mortgage. Then, hopefully after about a zillion years or so, you could move up and get on in your job, and out of the farm, shower your spouse with expensive gifts thanks to your enormous pay raise, kick your kids out of the house and into their own lives and college experience paid for by your upwardly-mobile career, and then some day retire to the “good life”, where you can kick back in your easy chair, smoke your pipe whilst your loving wife brought you your paper and slippers, coddle your grandkids whilst knowing you can easily “give them back”, and otherwise watch the rest of your life tick away.
Did I just describe the 1950’s, or what?
But nowadays, it’s not quite that way. Now, if you’re lucky enough to have a job for more than 3 years at a time, posterior-kissers have leap-frogged over you to get on in their careers, whilst some dragon who couldn’t give a rip about you hands you off to the Unemployment office. Then, after you’ve made history by contributing to that particular week’s “first-time jobless claims” number, you fade into bureaucratic obscurity. Meanwhile, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place wondering where your next job is going to come from, and sometimes where your next meal is going to come from. You wonder if somehow you can send your 8-year-old out to work, and endure the slings and arrows of an outraged spouse who can’t stand the fact that you’re on your keyster looking for something you can’t seem to find in this economy, whilst she has to go out to work herself to make ends meet.
Or perhaps you’re just a bit luckier than that. Maybe you married into a situation where both husband and wife work, and do very well, and that’s OK. So what if the kids rarely see either one of you… that’s today’s society, right? So what if Johnny has a key to the house and steps off the bus from first grade to a loving, handmade… note from Mom, saying “dinner’s in the fridge, see you after 9, Dad should be home by 11… do your homework, and don’t stay up too late.”
Wait a minute… I’m pining for the 1950’s. I think I just made myself real depressed there.
But for me, it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since high school, and never thought I could… nursing. OK, so listened to the guidance counsellor when she said “you’d better try to go on radio or something… you could never be a nurse.” OK, so I suckered into the jokes from my classmates who called male nursing “gay” and “stupid.” So, I went and got my B.A. in a completely different field, and ended up not working in it at all. So now I’ve got a degree, education, and now a “trade” after the dot-com bubble killed my industry until its predicted return in 2007. My family can’t wait that long, and the climate is REAL good for what I wanted to do all along, but stupidly never thought I could. Until now.
I was in Anatomy & Physiology class earlier today, and just realised… “OK, I get this…”
So it’s a mid-life crisis. But instead of forgetting my kid and dumping my wife for some 19-year-old bimbo, I’m changing careers… again. At least I’m not the only one. “I think I can… I think I can…”