Mid-Life Crisis

I really miss school – not homework or projects or tests or, God forbid, anything that involved me standing in front of people and speaking. I miss the learning. I miss changing up subjects every hour all day long from English to science to math – and I loved it all – maybe not all of my teachers, but almost all of the subjects.

In college, I loved deciding which classes I’d take and my first few years looked a lot like my high school schedule with all the usual suspects including orchestra and PE, but in college I could focus on particular areas – biology became zoology – government became international law – and PE was modern dance or Tae Kwon Do depending on the semester (I’m so out of shape now I can’t wrestle the cat off my desk without her pinning me to the ground while hissing “you want some of this? Hmm? You think you’re a tough human? Whose a tough girl, now? Is it you? Hmmm? I didn’t THINK so!” then she lets me up and I go sulk in the living room.) The only thing I hated was picking a major and the way I decided was to review all the classes I’d taken and determining that “ahhh, I have more government than anything else”, because I didn’t want to be in school forever. I wanted to get out and enjoy the freedom of having a “job” – forget learning anything useful, any ol’ job would do. Choosing a minor was a little more difficult – I had an equal number of classes in biology, anthropology and English so it came down to “eh, English is ok”.

(Just for clarifications sake – when I say I have a minor in English that does not mean I have any special skills at either writing or editing. For some reason, when people hear I have a minor in English, they think I can critically analyze their writing and begin to actually worry. Unless you’re using the word “irregardless” trust me when I say you’re safe from me. What an English minor actually means (at least in my case) is that I’ve read a lot of poetry, short stories and books. In fact, I need some of you to sit down for this next revelation, you see, I cannot even diagram a simple sentence. I know, I know, I single-handedly make English teachers across the globe weep, but I didn’t become a run-on sentence, comma splice abuser because I could identify an indirect object. I prefer a more stream-of-conscious Dickens approach to a sentence. (C’mon, that first paragraph in a Tale of Two Cities (aka that sentence) is blatant abuse and they paid him by the chapter.) In fact, every year in high school would open with our English teachers berating us for our poor skills, snarking about our previous lax teachers, then they’d set aside two weeks to drill the basics into our head, throw their hands up in disgust, declare us all hopeless and begin throwing books our way. If we could survive a couple of “who” “whom” or “which” and “that” chapters in the Little Brown Handbook, we were home free. The next year, they’d start this whole cycle anew and we’d always be rewarded because ultimately they wanted to read books, too.

Now I have a job and it’s nice – it pays the bills – it keeps me off the streets, but I am missing all of the exposure I once had to history, social sciences, geography, geometry, etc. Sure, I can relive the orchestra experience by practicing and joining a group. I can try to recapture that English feeling by joining a book club, but that has a few drawbacks which will only serve to make me sound more arrogant than I already do. But I really can’t break away and find a group that wants to sit around solving algebraic equations, working matrices, figuring out a complicated proof – those mathematical puzzles that are equally stimulating and fun. There’s no special hour to devote to the discussion of ethics or Eastern political thought or compare death rituals across the various tribes in Africa. The only group that might come close is MENSA and what do you really do there other than compare the size of your score? “Well, mine’s bigger!” Go Big Brained You! Plus, I’ve met some of the MENSA folks here in town, and they’re also proud members of the B&D Society. Personally, I don’t need a little spanking with my Chaucer, thank you very much – “Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote…” doesn’t inspire me to become anyone’s filthy little love pony – and if it does for you, go you – I know a great club you can join.

Sure, I could go back to school, take a class here or there but I really can’t recapture that same feeling nor can I carry 12+ hours of classes, live in a dorm and think that Ramen every day is ok by me. Call this my mid-life crisis. I’m just missing the sports car. (I already got the hot young man. Go old me!)

2 thoughts on “Mid-Life Crisis

  1. Pam says:

    I’m so with you on this! If I could change anything about my college years, it would be knowing what life after college would be like, so I could really appreciate that time of learning and experiencing rather than going through motions for a paycheck.

  2. Susan says:

    I say start your own “school”. With one or more “classes”. This post so resonates with me. (Impulse behind the Project Lab, for sure.) What would the first class be and who would you enroll to join you?

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