It has been such a long time since I’ve blogged, and I don’t know why, because blogging is something I love to do. So much has happened in just a few short months. This blog post will be somewhat of a fill-in of what has passed, but more of a journey into my thoughts. Though they are typically scattered, focused, crazy, scary, and boring, they might also be wise, and worth reading. At least this time around.
If you know me, or if you’ve been reading my posts, you know that my business is struggling, my son is off to college, my daughter recently married, and that I love animals so much so that I have my own small zoo. I love photography, painting, writing, but apparently don’t possess enough talent in any of those things to make money from them. I LOVE food, but cannot be the foodie I was born to be because I have so many food issues that I’ve become one of “those” people. You know the ones who read the back of everything, and constantly quizzes restaurant staff as to the specific ingredients in their aioli? Yep, that’s me.
You know that I want to live among mountains, water, and trees so tall, you can’t see the tops of them. Even when I was in school to become a teacher, I would joke around that I was going to move to the mountains and teach the mountain children. Ha!
You know that I have a bucket list of items, but nothing crazy because I don’t believe your bucket list should kill you. I mean what’s the point in that?
You know that I struggle with ADHD, a little OCD (yes it’s real), lots of anxiety, and I’m probably still in the midst of a midlife crisis. I’m restless… this is something that I fear will never change.
This summer was a rough one and I’m so glad it’s over, but the stress never leaves. It was so bad that I finally made an appointment with a psychiatrist. I was hoping to get meds for my ADHD, and was told by my medical doctor that a Psychiatrist was the only way to go. Anyway, she determined during our visit that my anxiety is the cause of my ADHD, and she put me on meds for anxiety. Not the Adderall I was hoping for. I didn’t take them at first, but as the tensions built over the summer months, I finally gave in. They actually do make a huge difference in my overall ability to focus. Now I can really focus on everything that has ever stressed me… health, money, my kids… ha! Just kidding. In all seriousness, the meds have helped, but I have had a few depressive episodes. I don’t like those, because when I’m feeling that way, I really could care less if I live or die. I don’t get that way typically, so it’s a little frightening, but in all honesty, a little freeing as well. I’ve always had anxiety about dying. Not so much at certain points these past few months. This might not be an effect of the med so much as it is the awful buildup of stress. The worry over everything never leaves, no matter how medicated, and that kind of sucks.
This all started with a rough time with the business. Sometimes I think if I worked for someone else, and brought home a regular paycheck, I’d be happier. Then I remember that I don’t drive in ice and that working for someone else might require that because apparently whatever an office employee or teacher in a public school does, it is life or death, and you must be there, even on the iciest of days. Stupid! We don’t expect our parents or kiddos to come on potentially icy days. My dream job would be a work-from-home position. I could work from anywhere that had a signal and be a stay at home fur-baby mom. I’d love that! I’ve never been able to be a stay at home mom, and hey, I’d actually be making money! The song “Dream On,” pops into my head.
Then my son was accepted into a few universities of his choice. Remember this people, acceptance doesn’t come with the money to attend. Even though he’s made one B in his entire life, scored high, or perfect, in AP classes, and he was a Salutatorian, he didn’t receive scholarships at all. I had no idea how to search scholarships out, and neither did he. He qualified for aid because I literally have a $0.00 income (it’s actually negative), but the aid was such a small amount that it won’t make even a dent in the cost of tuition, let alone prison (dorm) life on campus, and the meal plan costs. Plus they take that tiny amount of aid and spread it out over three quarters. Can I just throw myself over a bridge now? Seriously.
THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION
I still owe a huge amount of money in my own college loans. I wanted to go back to school too. Not only do I want to, but I need to if I’m ever going to make any money. Sadly, teaching young children isn’t going to be the money making career I need it to be in order to pay for all of these loans and still live.
It’s a sad circle… go to school to make enough money to pay your loans, and live, but you can’t major in anything that’s going to better your community, or the life of others, because that won’t pay you enough to live.
Seriously, let’s talk about this dorm. The campus is beautiful, the lecture halls are amazing, the libraries are like Hogwarts, and the dorm was old, had probably never been remodeled from it’s original days, and smelled like a guys locker room even though it’s totally co-ed with girls and guys being in the same halls. The study area for each floor was tiny, with a TV the size of my laptop hanging in the center, and a few cafeteria type of tables in the center. Oh, and lets not forget the tiny whiteboard hanging off to the side. Like you can do anything with that! Granted the study area for the entire dorm was beautiful with a game room, fireplace, bigger TV, and amazing views of the lake and Mount Ranier, but come on!
I am paying more for him to live in a prison-like commune than had I simply placed him in a tiny, modern, studio apartment near campus. A LOT more… but loans and grants given are based on living on campus. Of course they are. Lets see how much we can gouge you, and destroy your dreams of ever being able to live the peaceful life you so desperately desire, all for the sake of being a well rounded individual who can carry on a conversation with… with? Other poor, educated individuals, sitting on the sidelines watching the billionaires play football.
WHAT’S GOOD FOR OTHERS MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU
People ask me why I would “allow” my son to go off to college so far away. Why I would “allow” him to make these choices. Well, there is no “allowing” to it. He’s my kid, he’s basically an adult, and he feels he needs to do this. He’s rarely done anything wrong, he worked hard in school, and I raised him with the understanding that college is going to happen for him. I understand this need, and maybe I’m living vicariously through him, because I’d give anything to live on the NW Coast. I didn’t bring humans into this world so that I could be a needy, parental dictator. I will support his choices 100% in most ways, and a small percentage will be financial support. If his choices meant drug use or causing any type of harm to others (people or animals), he would not have my support at all, but this is college. He’s not sick, fighting a losing battle against an illness. He’s not in jail, though I felt his dorm could use a lot of remodeling. He’s going to college, and I’m happy for him.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s what’s good for those you care about (not just your children, but any loved one) may not be good for you. Their choices might make you sad, or lonely, or stressed about them, and perhaps your own pocketbook (that’s an old fashioned term for wallet). If it isn’t good for you, should you try to hold them back, or push them forward? Move on? I suppose it depends on what we’re talking about. If it’s better for them, their future, their health… do you hold them back? All to keep them by your side? Or do you let them go, and support them even if you don’t agree with it, even if it leaves you sad, or lonely? I’m all for the latter… this is why I’m medicated. Ha!
WISE WORDS FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE
What does one do when one is stressed about money and leaving your child behind to live his new adventure? You go gambling. I didn’t win his tuition, as was my plan, but I did end up walking away with something that I’m holing tight to.
I was cashing out a ticket and the older Indian gentleman cashing it for me asked me what brought me to Washington. I told him, while jokingly expressing my stress about not winning tuition. He looked up at me, and very seriously told me this (Yes I remember every word and every line on his face). “I know this must be a very stressful time, but also joyous. Every important moment in life comes with both joy and worry. Did you know worry over money is always everyone’s first worry when something good happens? You get married, you worry about finances, you buy a house, you worry about finances, you go to college, you worry about finances, you have a baby, you worry about finances. You plan your whole life worrying about finances. Don’t do this… be conscientious, but do what you need to do to support your son because it will all work out. It always works out… or you wouldn’t be here right now, standing in front of me… am I right?”
Absolutely… he’s absolutely right.