It was so understood that I would go to college, and that most intelligent decent people my age would go to college, that I had to use all my strength and resistance not to go to college. As a child of the 60’s my mentors were Herman Hesse, Ken Kesey, Richard Brautigan and others. I could not see myself as genuine unless I took the other path.
Now, 53, I have a husband, who did go to college, and 3 beautiful children who are going to college, but they are working and on scholarships and I can barely provide for them. My brother, who did go to college and succeeded in life sends gifts of money to my daughter to help her through college. It is so demeaning to me and fills me with shame.
When I meet people I was in high school with, who are now professors, heads of departments, leading respectable, meaningful lives, the only thing I have to tell them is that I am happily married and have 3 wonderful children and that I have been working all these years.
Those things are wonderful and I would not have traded them off, but I could have had it all. I had the brains and the ability and the desire, and I had the right values.
I did try to go to study a few years ago. After so many years of learning to work, learning to separate theory from what is most essential each day, my mind is no longer free and unencumbered. I am afraid to leave the parameters of my small mental realty, and when there is a subject, I have so many questions I can’t get past point A. Studying? Carrying a full-time job, taking care of a husband, kids and home, well, for me, it was impossible.
When I was young, the world was open. I did not have to worry about finances, keeping up a house and being responsible for others. That was my peak time. That was when I was ready to study.
As a worker, even in an office, I have been all these years a victim of other peoples’ desires. I may have had the brains but I don’t have the control. These people, because they studied or took control of their own destiny now have control of mine. I am at their beck and call, and I am not really proud of how I have used my time in life.
It is my kids’ turn now. Whatever extra money there is will be used to help them. If they have grandkids, money will go to help them, and probably my time will be given too.
I could have had a different life, my husband and I could be more active and involved, we would be busier. I could have made my parents proud, and I could have been more respected by others my whole life; and what is more, I would have respected myself more. My work life would have more meaning. I am smart, and so much of me is not being used properly, but it is too late.
You, who are young, take advantage of your energy and drive. Do it now, before you are tied down to a spouse and children. Do it for yourself. Four years is really such a short time compared to the span of a whole lifetime. Moreover, you have a right to be somebody.