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I am being self-reflective these days, most likely due to the death of my grandmother.  After her memorial service, I had to go into work for an important meeting.  Now I know people think, what could be that important, but this meeting involved a huge responsbility that was given to me.  As an admin, I don’t get that feeling of authority and importance too often.  I’ll revisit this later.  So anyway, because of where my grandmother’s service was held and where my work is located, I had to drive past many of the places that were important in my childhood.  As I drove through, I couldn’t help but think that this would be the last time that I might see many of these places.  After all, I have very little reason to ever go back to the town where I grew up since my grandmother wasn’t there anymore.  It almost felt, at that moment, that my childhood had officially ended. 

Understand, of course, that I’ve been supporting myself for over 20 years now, but still, that did not seem to define the end of childhood.  I lost track of old friends, had children on my own, and yet, I still felt like one of the “younger” ones.  I am the oldest granddaughter, so at the service, my aunt gave me my grandmother’s grandchild charm bracelet.  Although I do not have any grandchildren and won’t any time soon, my children are the oldest of my grandmother’s great-grandchildren.  I guess it felt like the crown was being passed.

The reason that I also marked this post as education is because being grown up, I feel like it’s time for me to figure out what I want to do with myself now.  I will be graduating with my Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts degree in May and I feel strongly that I want to continue, particularly if my company will continue to pay my tuition.  What should I do though?  Within the confines of my job, there aren’t many options.  Do I abandon my 20+ years of administrative experience and go in a totally new direction?  Or do I stick with what I know, my strengths, so that I can continue to grow with my current skill set?  I really don’t know the answer to these questions.  I do know that I cannot afford to pay for my own tuition since I will need to help my children with their college tuition in a few short years.  From that standpoint, it seems like it would be silly to find a job making less money.  But when do we finally say “uncle” and go for our bliss?  And how do you figure out what bliss means for you?

It was a bittersweet holiday weekend.  On the one hand, it was spent with friends and family, which was great.  On the other, it is probably the last 4th of July I will ever spend with my grandmother.  She is not doing well and it’s only a matter of days before she is no longer with us.  However, because of her condition, the family picnic had the best turnout that it’s had so far.  It was nice to see relatives that I have not seen in a long time, particularly my cousin Tabitha.  She is 10 years younger than me, so my husband and I used to take her and her sisters to Great Adventure, the Zoo, or just to hang out at our house.  Those were always fun times.  Now she is a grown woman and we had not seen one another since she was pregnant with her first child.  It’s been too long, far too long.

How does time get away from us like that?  How do we stop it from happening?  My aunt emailed me a birthday greeting on June 15 and I finally emailed her back last night.  How did those 2+ weeks get away from me?  I think it actually happens more frequently when I’m not engaged, that is, when I have things to do to occupy my time.  I am better about staying on top of things when I have many other things on which to concentrate.  That sounds ironic, but that ‘s what works for me.  I feel like I am currently in a funk.  I have no deadlines, either at work or at home.  It is difficult to not let time get away from you in that situation, at least for me.  I prefer to have structure and most importantly, deadlines.  I guess that’s why I enjoy school so much.  It’s also why I enjoy having employment in which I am fully engaged, even if it’s over the required 40 hours a week.  I just feel more alive.

How do others stay motivated when there are not deadlines?  What do you love to do that makes you “work” even when deadlines do not exist?  These are questions that I am currently asking myself.  I will not be in school after May of next year, at least not for 8 months, so I will really need to figure this out or waste way too much time being unmotivated.

I’ve had some very interesting experiences while at college.  Being in my 40’s in college is so great because I really appreciate all of the knowledge that I am receiving.  It still amazes me, being in classes with older, non-traditional students, how many people are just there to “get the piece of paper.”  Most of those pieces of paper are worthless as the person receiving them has made no real effort to expand their sphere of knowledge while in attendance. 

In my sociology class last night we were discussing women and religion and whether religion was anti-feminist.  It became obvious to me, very quickly, that no one in the class had any knowledge about anything outside their own sphere.  In other words, the Catholics knew nothing outside of Catholicism, the few Jewish people didn’t know much outside of Judaism, etc.  The professor asked questions about religions specifically, if we knew of any religions that were more “women friendly” etc.  The subject of Atheism came up and the opinion that people in the class had of Atheists obviously came from a place of ignorance.  I had no choice but to come out of the closet.  I discussed how I was an Atheist and how I knew many who were Atheist.  None of them were Atheist because they “wanted to do their own thing” and “not be bothered by rules,” rather they became Atheists after much thought and scholarly inquiry.  Also, all of the Atheists that I know are very liberal and strongly believe in equal rights/opportunities/justice for all and work to make it happen.  Speaking only for myself, I try to follow the Golden Rule as best I can because it’s the right thing to do, not because I am afraid of future consequences.  If the class had been quiet before, you could now hear a pin drop. 

I had several people in the class remark to me afterward “How do you know so much?”  It’s simple – I read.  I read a lot.  My husband reads a lot and then we talk, a lot.  You get the idea.  And this isn’t the only example that I could give you.  This happens over and over and over again in my classes.  People do not attempt to educate themselves, they do not attempt to stay informed.  They trust someone else to tell them how to think.  I think that is sad and I think that it is a big reason that our country is falling apart.  So go ahead and blame it on the godless heathens if you must, but my money is that it’s more the fault of the mindless lemmings.

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