I’m Going To College…Where’s The Xanax?

On Monday, I’ll be taking my first college class in over 20 years.


This wasn’t planned and in a lot of ways it was a spur of the moment decision, even though it was a long harbored dream. A dream that I tried very hard to kill. I’d frequently lament to the DH that “someday” I wanted to go back to school and become an English major and I’d also not to subtly comment how jealous I was that he got to work on his second degree while I was still waiting for my chance to work on my first one.

I never claimed to be mature.

After I graduated from high school, I went to a local community college. Fiscally speaking, a four-year college was out of the question. I’ve long had a love affair with books and the written word and dreamed of becoming a published writer but without college, I assumed that was not to be.  So with a sigh, I picked the most interesting option I assumed was available to be at the time…medical assisting.

That was a mistake.

I passed my classes but I didn’t exactly excel. I assumed that was because I was working full-time while going to school but in retrospect I think I didn’t thrive because I wasn’t passionate about what I was studying.  The medical assisting education was never used…unless you count it coming in handy when one of my kids had a split lip, a broken arm, or a broken tooth…or when I lanced Skippy’s abscess on his gums.

Cut to 2012 and my new friend, Chris, telling me what she’s learning at a local college as she earns HER degree in English.

I’m so jealous of her.

(Reminder:  I never claimed to be mature.)

Chris invites me to attend an event hosted by the English department of Western Illinois University. I go and I drool. I meet the head of the English department and I drool some more. I meet the Poetry Professor. The head of the English department invites me to audit one of his classes. I go and I’m on Cloud 9.

Dang it. I still want to earn a Bachelor’s in English.

But it’s impossible and it’s too late.

I share the dream with the DH…and some close friends…and on Facebook. Suddenly the dream doesn’t seem so silly or out-of-reach. Next thing I know, I have a Pell Grant and I’m registered for Music Appreciation, Poetry Writing and Composition 101.

My online class starts on Monday and I’m scared.

If I don’t do well, I will have wasted an obscene amount of money.

And everybody will know I’m a failure.

And I’ll lose all credibility with my kids.

How the heck am I going to handle working, school and the kids as the DH finishes up HIS last semester? I’m still kind of cheesed that somehow the Monkey got away with eating a ketchup and tortilla sandwich today while I was out of the house for a couple of hours.

It’s REALLY tempting to quit before I start but I’m pretty sure I’ll regret that decision before I start. And if Meathead told me he didn’t want to go to college because of fear, I wouldn’t let fear win.

So I guess I have to do what I would tell my kids.

Work hard. Ask questions. Give it everything I got.

Uncharted Territory

For the first time in my life, I know where I want to go, I have a plan on how to get there and I’m actually doing it.

But I’m freaking out.

Back in January when I wrote this post, I had high hopes for myself.  I WOULD change this year. I WOULD accomplish my goals.  I meant what I said in January, but deep down I harbored some pretty serious doubts.  I was firm in my resolve to try, but I didn’t completely believe that I could actually be successful.


There have been a lot of trips, stumbles and flat out crashes so far. Usually, I always take those things as a sign that I don’t have what it takes and quit.  But encouragement has come from unexpected sources. Friends have emailed me out of the blue to offer words of wisdom and give me a proverbial kick in the butt.

So here I stand three months later, 20 pounds lighter (the most weight I’ve ever lost to date). The budget is looking good. Rick and I are making slow but steady process to our goal of financial freedom.  And now I have a writing project for an actual BOOK to start working on with someone else.

I’m in uncharted territory right now and it frightens me just a bit.  Dare I hope that I’m on my way to the life I’ve always dreamed of?

The only way I know how to combat this comes from one of my favorite animated movies, “Meet The Robinsons”.

I realize that I’m going to fail many more times before and after I reach my goals. That doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It just means that I’m human.

Do you quit at the first sign of trouble? How do you combat it?

Dear March (A Letter to My Nemesis Month)

Dear March:

You’re a clever one.


Very clever.

For several years, I’ve set goals and made plans in January and have enjoyed success for 8-9 weeks and then…


Some years I didn’t care. Some years I cared an awful lot and thought it was me. Maybe I wasn’t capable of achieving my goal…or any goal for that matter. Maybe I was weak. Maybe I set the bar to high. Maybe I’m just a loser.

But now I know what it is.

It’s you, March.

Every year when it’s your turn on the calendar, you usurp me. You make me believe that the past two months have been a waste of my time and efforts. You, who make it seems like Winter will never end, want me to fail.

I can’t believe I didn’t see it until now.

I was a fool. You managed to trick me for your first four days, but no longer.  Spring and Summer are coming, March which means the light at the end of a long tunnel.

I will succeed.


Finish Year Update…or as I like to call it “Put Up or Shut Up”

As 2011 drew to a close, Jon Acuff challenged his readers to make 2012 the Year of the Finish. Readers were challenged to make a list of things that they wanted to complete this year and make them public either via blog post, Facebook, Jon’s website or Twitter.

Being the sheep that I am, I listed five things I wanted to finish this year and blogged about it here.  Then today I realized that I have a huge tendency to say I’m going to do something, start off strong, enjoy a small amount of success and…quit.

I know. It’s idiocy but I’m working on it.

I’m turning 40 this year and I’d really like to be able to cross some things off of my list.  40 seems to be a major milestone for whatever reason and I’d like to move into this next decade with less baggage and more accomplishments, if you will.

So without further ado, here’s an update on where I am for Finish Year.

  1. Lose 8 pounds a month. UPDATE: I should have weighed myself at the beginning of the year to know exactly what I’ve lost.  I can’t say that I’ve lost 8 pounds per month BUT I can say that I’ve lost 16 pounds since October. I would love to lose 5 more pounds by March 1 to achieve a personal milestone. My clothes are getting loser!
  2. Run the Bix race in July. UPDATE: I don’t know why I listed this as my goal. I really don’t want to do it.
  3. Blog twice a week on a regular basis. UPDATE: I’ve pretty much kept this goal. Recently, I had the opportunity for a published author to review my blog and give me feedback. He suggested blogging more often.  So that goal is going to change to blogging four times a week.
  4. Pay off our car. UPDATE: As soon as Uncle Sam  ponies up the refund he owes, this goal will be achieved.  I have never been so excited as I am with this goal. This will signify being one step closer to financial freedom.
  5. Have the first draft of my novel completed. UPDATE: Haven’t even attempted this for a couple of reasons. It’s next to impossible to achieve this goal with a five year old home with me during the day but the bigger reason is, I’m afraid. I’m not afraid that I can do it. I think that with a massive amount of work and time, this goal is achievable. It’s just that the idea I have for a book…it’s going to force me to go to places I don’t want to go.

So if I’m smart, I guess I need to rededicate myself to Finish Year and once again, declare in public how I’m going to finish 2012 strong.

Newly Revised and Updated…Finish Year 2012

  1. Lose 8 pounds a month by regular exercise (Pilates on Netflix) and daily logging in to My Fitness Pal for track weigh, diet and exercise.
  2. Run the Bix race in July.
  3. Blog four times a week.
  4. Pay off our car. (Waiting on you, Uncle Sam!)
  5. Have the first draft of my novel completed. This scares the snot out of me, but I’ll start incorporating what Jon Acuff calls “the selfishness of 5 a.m.” to get up before the rest of the household does to start working on this dream.

And now that it’s “out there”, I guess it’s put up or shut up time.

Did you set goals for yourself in 2012? Where are you at in achieving them?

2012: The Year of Finish

Jon Acuff is one of my favorite bloggers. I’ve been reading him for a few years on his Stuff Christians Like website where I learned about metrosexual worship leaders and unnecessary scarves. He’s quite funny but he’s also got quite the thought-provoking side as I learned when I read his latest book, “Quitter“.

This guy finds a way to get into your head without you realizing it. I find myself repeating phrases like “discipline begets discipline” and “the selfishness of 5 a.m.” His most recent foray into my psyche discussed how he’s great at starting things, but not finishing them.


Jon has dubbed 2012 as “Finish Year” and has issued a challenge to his readers to post a list of things that they want to finish this year.  Since I’m a great starter and tend to peter out by March, I thought this was a great idea.  I created my “Finish List” and tweeted it.

But here’s the thing…I’m lousy at the “lone wolf” thing and need support.  So I’m trolling for “Finishers” to join me this year.

Is there something that you’ve been wanting to accomplish? Do you want to finish what you start this year? What would be on your Finish List for 2012?

Let’s team up together and make 2012 a year that we finish well. Post your lists and your comments. I would love to hear from you.