Although I have posted some of my schemes to live well on a low income, it isn’t something I’d like to continue indefinitely. Low-income living has its drawbacks. It’s hard on your teeth and credit rating.
Toward the end of improving my income, I am working toward earning a bachelor degree. I generally like the classes and the material. However, each session takes a little more self-discipline than the last. There are times when the readings are boring and assignments are due, and I find myself saying:
“I am so not into this right now.”
I find myself thinking of other productive (or fun) things that I could be doing.
I am also beset by doubts. I wonder if I’m wasting my time and money pursuing a degree that may never lead to the sort of employment I seek. I get A’s and I’m on the Dean’s and President’s lists, but will it be enough? Will my age keep me from being considered for a good job? Will it all be a colossal exercise in futility that in the end only increases my student loan debt? (Not by a lot, the school is very reasonable.)
There is also the specter of needing to pull up stakes and move to another area of the country for a new job. The idea is both exciting and scary at the same time. It means leaving behind family and friends. It means leaving the known for the unknown. It means taking a big risk.
It would be so easy to just stay in the same job and the same place. Life is usually tolerable, and I know my way around really well. It would be so easy not to try to do better. I could consign my hopes and dreams to the realm of “unlikely anyway” and simply exist. I could pursue crafts and needlework projects to suit my artistic drive. I could try to find some marketable form for my creations, or not.
It would be so easy to just give up. It would be so simple to accept the position the work world seems to want me in, despite my experience and qualifications. It would be so easy to stop fighting and hoping for something better, only to be disappointed yet again.
It would be so easy to throw up my hands and say “never mind!” as young guys who dropped out half way into the first semester of the program I worked my tail off to finish, with honors, get offered well paid jobs in the field. (On the other hand, the same guys seem to be back to flipping burgers in less than two years, so maybe I’m not missing much.) It would be so easy to just quit trying.
It was easy to justify staying where I am, not-so-professionally, as I finished the task of raising my children. But I can no longer use that excuse. So I need to decide: do I want to remain in my marginally safe, tolerable, predictable existence, or do I try to achieve a new plane of existence? Well really, I know the answer. I want to move on. I want to pursue a better future. I sometimes despair that it will always remain beyond reach; that all my efforts will be in vain. I fear that I will be forever consigned to barely-getting-by.
But it would be so easy to stay there.
Despite the doubts and fears, I keep slogging on, determined to finish this degree. On the weekends when I’d far rather be doing anything but schoolwork, I still finish my work and do it well.
That means hope is still stronger.