Monday, April 14, 2014

You might be young....

My poor dad is back in the hospital and at this point of the game I am fearing that he will not see me graduate UNR. His heart is starting to weaken from all the health issues. I think about my dad when I was 12-years-old, and was out in the middle of Darwin Street in Hayward (CA) pitching softballs to him and taking his advice on how better to throw. He was never a huge man (5'11 and 185 at his best) but to me he was a giant. Seeing him so frail and sick is very hard but I know everyday he fights.

My mom who was born September 17, 1933 in Old Town, Maine is still working. She works at Osborne School in Turlock a few hours a day, and she oves the kids there. They keep her young. I come from an obvious tough family with great genes, and know that I have another good 20-30 years to offer working. I am like my folks, and even though Dad is suffering a lot of health problems - the point is he has not given up. He fights and he fights. My mom is from a tough-breed of pioneer Quebecois folk, raised in a New England, by a lumberjack father and a mother of 7, who became a nurse.

I have been thinking a lot lately about people my age who are retiring or getting ready to retire. I fit in neither category. I am preparing for a second career. I see the kids I go to school with, many who are brilliant young people, scholastically, but who have not yet earn their notches for life experiences. In the employment world they have their youth to offer. I, at 54, have experience and great work ethics. I do not feel sometimes as smart as they are, as most came from high school right into college. I left high school in 1978, married in 1980 and was a mom by 1981. I raised my awesome kids, and decided to go back to school for a degree.

Do I regret losing my youth? Honestly, I do not. I do miss being young enough not to care what I do to my body, because now I have to be cautious of what I do and how I do it. Do I regret not going to college right out of high school? Not one minute of regret there...I have two great kids who have given me four beautiful granddaughters (so far) and I am young enough to take them camping and go and play with them. I regret nothing.

I do worry that youth is much more appealing to employers than my middle-aged status. I worry that I might be someone who is judged for age only. Here is the truth of the matter...yes my age is 54. Yes I feel aches and pains. Yes I love Advil. No I am not giving in. I do not care that I ache or hurt. I will NOT lay down and feel sorry for myself. I will not use my age or limitations to get out of doing what is expected of me and my younger peers. I hurt when I am done, and work hard at keeping the pain at bay until such a time I can relax and rest, letting my body heal.

Sure the students I am in the geology program with are much younger than me. I remember who I came from, how I got here, and why I am doing this. Being a geologist is what I exist for. Learning and developing my skills are all a part of this great time of my education that I will carry with me to my grave.  My peers are young, but I am not dead yet. I still have much to give. I look forward to the day I can walk away with a degree in hand, and start my career. I got this!

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