I never finished college.
In an earlier post, I attributed that to ‘artistic differences’, but that’s really a cop-out. I didn’t finish college because I’m flawed. Fatally so.
I’m one of those lucky people that lots of stuff comes easy to. I’m a decent artist. Have a nearly photographic memory. I take risks in the kitchen that pay off 90% of the time. I get the piano, have nimble fingers and a pretty good ear. The list goes on. Please don’t take this as bragging – it’s not, I promise.
So many things come easily that my visceral reaction is to be lazy, and oddly enough, scared. I’ll play the piano until it becomes a challenge I don’t enjoy any more. I absolutely won’t play in front of anyone outside of my little family, for fear of a missed note. I hate cooking, because of that 10% I screw up in the kitchen. I’ve never taken a serious art class because I’m afraid I’ll get bored – or fail at it.
And there’s the problem. I’m lazy, and I’m scared to fail. Those two things, when given any amount of credibility one’s mind, make it nearly impossible to commit to anything, let alone something as strenuous as college.
So, college. I had a lot of fun. Made a lot of friends, most of whom have long since gone their separate ways. Wasted a lot money. Wasted a lot of time.
And now I’m a mom. I stay home with my kids, educating them, of all things. Teaching them to keep at it when they don’t want to. That quitting’s not an option when stuff doesn’t come easy any more. Trying to teach them lessons I still haven’t fully learned myself.
This book. This freaking book. It’s so much more to me than words on a page. It’s my right of passage. It’s the college experience I cheated myself out of: late nights working on something that, at times, I’ve grown to hate. It’s choosing to sit my butt down in front of the computer instead of going out with the girls. It’s not settling for ‘good enough’ when the desire to quit is so pungent I can hardly breathe. It’s letting go of the fear of failure, even when that little critter is gnawing at the back of my mind with its razor-sharp teeth saying, “Really? This is what you’ve spent the past three years of your life doing? Pathetic.”
Can writing a book replace the college experience? Probably not. I won’t have a diploma in my hand at the end of it. I may not even have a published book at the end of it.
But, it’s a personal first. I’m finishing something. Finishing it well. Doing it the right way. Not giving up when the part that comes easily is over.
That’s my victory.