My diploma came in the mail today. This might surprise people who know me, because I didn’t really announce my graduation. Oh, I told a few people (hi, Mom!), but I quickly found out that as soon as you tell someone you’ve finished your degree, they ask, “What are you going to do now?”
And I don’t have a clue.
I finished college for a few reasons. I lost my job a year ago and this freed up a ton of time and energy (I got a new job pretty much immediately…in fact, so quickly that I was kind of sorry to see my ‘vacation’ go! But the new job allows for a much, much better work-life balance). I wanted to prove that I could finish something. I wanted to graduate before my youngest kid (I did beat him, he’ll graduate this spring!). And I figured that if I ever figured out what I want to be when I grow up, an AA would transfer far more easily than a bunch of 15 year old miscellaneous credits from two different colleges.
So I enrolled in the same college the kid attends, and I did my homework, and I pondered the future. They sent me the diploma, but they didn’t send me a crystal ball.
It used to be that the future was made of hope. I hoped I’d get married again. I hoped I’d have more kids. I hoped I’d do something valuable to humanity. I hoped I’d find success, whatever that was (I still don’t know). But the years slid on by, and most of the time I was occupied with survival. Do what it takes to pay the bills, school the kids, put food on the table, try to take care of myself. There were years of bare minimum and there were years with some breathing room, and there were a lot of good memories. But always there was the waiting. And then one day I realized there was no more waiting to be done. The kids were grown. The future had arrived.
And hope turned to panic.
What am I doing with my life? Where did time go? How on earth do I decide what to do now? And if I could decide, how on earth would I accomplish it? I still have no answers.
But I guess there’s no point in fearing the future. It’s going to come no matter what, right? Oh sure, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and my worries would be over, but it’s more likely that I’ll still have a future to figure out. Worst case scenario, I do that one day at a time.