I am sure that part of this comes from the crowd I am spending most of my time with. Several of my friends have completed post-graduate degrees (Scott, Lynn, and Cynthia spring to mind immediately) as do many of the people I am reporting to in the office (I work with lawyers) and it seems that a lot of the people I meet socially have a degree of some sort. Of course to my mind that is to be expected. In my experience growing up for someone to be in their 30s and not have a degree meant that they were a blue-collar worker and I think this is really the core of the issue for me.
My father got his B.A. and Masters from Yale. My mother got her degree from TCU. One uncle has an engineering degree from Yale and another uncle has a DDS from Baylor. My paternal grandfather had an architecture degree from Yale and my paternal grandmother was a teacher. It probably goes without saying but school received a lot of attention in my family. Growing up my expectation, and I felt my parent’s expectation, was that I would finish high school and then go through college. It was part of “The Plan,” which also involved me being married with children at this point in my life so we all see how well I stuck with that one.
Aside from the expectation which I held for myself I just see myself as a college professor. As much as I enjoy doing what I am doing right now and as much as I HATE speaking in front of groups of people, I can really see myself as a teacher of some sort, perhaps high school if not college.
Clearly the solution to this is for me to get my butt in to gear and get a degree and to this end I am planning on going by UH here in the near future to find out if I could conceivably complete a degree there in a reasonable amount of time. A bigger issue for me, as I write this piece, is how does getting a degree fit into what I want for the rest of my life. I could be very happy doing what I am doing now for the rest of my life. The litigation support field is fluid enough on both the technology side and the legal requirements side that I can continue to grow and be challenged professionally for the next thirty years. The real issue is what I want on a more personal level. I want to meet someone, fall in love, get married, and have kids and, not to put to fine a point on it, I want this to happen sooner rather than later. I would like to have at least kid #1 born within the next five years (which would put me at a crotchety 60 when they are 22). This means I need to get on the ball with the whole dating thing.
Ultimately since I am not going to leave my job at this point, I feel the choice is going to come down to whether I want to date or whether I want to go to school. I could be wrong but I just don’t see how I can work a full time job and complete what boils down to two-and-a-half years of school in three years while maintaining much of a social life. Let alone enough of a social life to meet someone and so on and so on. Particularly at the excruciatingly slow speed I tend to work when dating. This is a whole other issue.
You know what? I am reading this bit and just come to the conclusion that being a grown-up sucks. I want to pitch a fit and bitch about how it’s just not fair and blame my parents and all that crap but at the end of the fit nothing will have changed. I will still be 32 going on 13 and without a degree. There is at least one thing in there which I can change (and no I don’t mean by waiting until October when I get older either, you gits), the rest I will just have to have faith that it will work out when it is meant to work out.