A new chapter

We’ve been struggling a little bit for the last while and I was trying to figure out how to meet our family’s needs, while protecting our future (we’ll call it my “parachute”).  My honey and I had decided that it would work for both needs if I returned to complete a second master’s degree.  I could defer my student loans, to give us a bit of a break and I could add in an accounting and finance degree that would open up options for me down the road.

Then life did what it always does and new information came out, things changed, and opportunities opened up.  I began to doubt that the choice would work for us under the new circumstances, but my honey and I talked and we figured it was just a bad week, that I could still do it.

Last night, as we sat cuddled up on the couch watching tv, it hit me that I was well and truly done with it.  I had been anxious all day and it wouldn’t leave me alone – like an alarm bell going off in my intuition, ringing loudly that I shouldn’t do it.  I’d think about the work I would be obligated to do and the work that needs to be done for my family, then I’d have that flash that tells me not to proceed with my enrollment.

In a counterpoint to what I had been feeling for the last few days, the tv show that we were watching dealt with characters who were going through life changes and trying to make decisions that would allow them to do what they needed to do.  A woman had decided to go back to pre-med school after her children were grown, only to find out she was pregnant again.  Her ambivalence and the discussions she had with her husband were framed around the idea that is was “her time” and she really hurt over being pinned between what should be a happy time and her own needs.

This carried on over a couple of episodes and it hit me that was what I was facing too.  I had been gnawing on the problem mentally for a few days, feeling at odds with certain needs versus what I really need.  I’ve done my education.  I’ve paid those heavy dues in lost time with my children, stress, and huge weight gain.  The reasons to do the second degree were valid and admittedly, I have a strong intellectual drive that gets fulfilled in a structured learning environment.  Being at the whim of higher ed for employment can be a bit disconcerting, particularly when you factor in this crazy election and the possible funding fall out for research, upon which my job is dependent.

A little financial break by having my loans deferred while I was in school would have helped take the edge off our finances.  My honey works at a student job for $7.75 an hour, with crazy, irregular hours and little hope for increases over time.  The financial break from deferred loans would have offset that and eased my worries.

Then he got the email offering him his old job back – the one with the non-profit company that he liked.  The details were firmed up late yesterday and suddenly there was an option to my going to school. 

To add to it all, I asked my oldest his thoughts on my going back to school and he was honest.  He didn’t want me to do it.  We talked about the reasons and talked about his side of things.  He was willing to give it a test drive for 4 months and then we’d re-evaluate the decision.  It was a blessing to be able to go tell him this morning that I’m completely done with school.  His happiness and cheer at the news only emphasized that I made the right choice.

To add to the new job factor for my honey, my oldest was just accepted into a children’s all-city honor choir here in our city.  This new additional obligation for time and practice means it’s all the more important that I focus on being fully here for my family.  My small guy needs time working on reading and learning how to express himself.  He has been on the short end of everything for years…  It’s time to get him to the head of the line!

I’ve spent a long, long time identifying as a student, as a life-long learner.  It has always been the path for me.  Not anymore.  That chapter is fully closed.  I guess it took coming right down to the 11th hour to see where I needed to be and what I needed to do.  Now that I’ve fully committed to it, I feel freedom and a sense of liberation that is amazing.  There may be a little fall out from it all, since I missed a deadline and will have to get everything wrapped up…  but it’s worth it.

I’m still figuring out how to best take care of my family and myself.  Old set behaviors, paths and rhythms have to be set aside.  It’s time to create new ways of doing things.  Higher education is a great path, but there comes a day when you jump out of the nest and use what you’ve been given.

Here’s to jumping!



Herbs and Baking Therapy

I’m trying Holy Basil and Ashwagandha.  Both are supposed to provide nervous system support.  I’d have to say that they are working and helping with my attitude about things since I went on a cooking rampage and some “baking therapy”.

Oldest son and I made ground beef and veggie soup in a beef both base.  We also made apple cake with some healthy modifications and he assisted with putting together the ingredients for caramel.  Sadly, on the last one, I did not get the heat high enough, so I ended up with caramels that are way too soft.  They are still delicious, however, so all was not lost.

The soup was good yesterday but today it was amazing and now it is all gone.  I take that as a good sign, since it didn’t languish in the fridge until it was a science experiment.

Side note:  does anyone else notice that WP now has glitches and lags?  Ugh.  This interface stinks, but I don’t want to go to all the hassle of switching.  And no, I don’t compose in Word and bring it over.  I should though.  I will lose all these postings some day and that’s a sad thought.

Anyway, the herbs appear to be working.  I’m hopefully because modern pharmacology is a nightmare.  Antidepressants are too much for me (and this leads doc to presume that is an affirmative for diagnosis of bipolar… um, perhaps it’s because I have sleep disruption and it is simply not tolerated??).

But the herbs seem to give me the relaxation that I need.  My honey mentioned a certain non-legal herb that would help better if it were legal (ie, if it was prescribed as medicinal here) and yes, that would certainly be nice but I don’t need to be non-functioning on top of everything else!  So I’m working out my groove.  And on that note, it’s time for herbs, sleeping pill and bed.  (and yes, I’m watching closely for interactions and side effects).


A little blue…

My little guy lost one of his kitty friends to a car.  I know he is sad about it, but he seems to be ok.  Me?  I feel really sad about the loss.  I’m sad because this was one of the “baby kitties” that my small guy has spent the last few years being friends with.  This particular kitty would come running when the boys were at my mother in law’s yard, enthusiastic for little boy pets and play time.

As the “baby kitties” got older, it aggravated Grampa Dan no end that Aidan still called them the baby kitties.  It gave us giggles to see the aggravation and it also made me feel like childhood was lasting, even in the face of our being so busy with work and school.

It’s a hard day and not just because of this news.  There is just something in the air that suggests to me that I should hunker down and hide, keep the boys inside and wait for the yucky feelings to pass.  I’d even say that I was feeling just a little bit out of it, almost to the point of feeling too bluesy and sad to be around anyone except my family.

Maybe it’s the weather change.  Maybe it’s that miid-semester dullness that comes when you’re not just freshly started and you’re not close enough to the end to know that you’ll be successful.  I’m not even in school myself, yet I can feel that sensation… being in the middle of the storm, with the dead air.

I gave my little guy a hug tonight and told him I love him, just like I tell the boys each night before bed and each morning as I send them off on their days.  It felt just a little less cheery tonight and I hope he’s doing ok about the loss.  I hope he remembers the happy times he played with baby kitty and all the laughter and fun they shared.

I hope I have quiet dreams that bring me back to myself.  I hope this odd mood lifts and I return to some kind of productive cheerfulness.