April 22, 2010

Oooooh, I'm So MAD At Myself!

'Tis Thursday, which means I'll be participating in the wordsmithing associated with Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop. You really should play along, too! And if you're passing up this week's prompts, then please visit Mama Kat to see the interesting and witty posts of other participants!

I've chosen to write prompts #1, #2 and #4. I was even going to do prompt #3, the one about the joy in my present moment.

Of course, I thought of sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and my husband, children, stepchildren and grandchildren. You know, all that sappy sh*t. Everyone loves those things, so I thought it was stupid to write what everyone else will write. Hey, it's my birthday, I can do what I want, right? I'm not going to mention anything else about joy in this post.

1.) “I’m mad at myself. I’m embarassed. I can’t believe after all these years, I’m still talking about my weight.” Poor Ope. What are you mad at yourself about?

Ya know what I'm mad about?

Not going back to school to finish a Bachelor's degree.

I didn't do it after I got an Associate's degree. What a maroon! I should have stayed the course and finished the damned thing. But no, there were kids to take care of, and my marriage was falling apart. Life got in the way. I lost myself in my cares.

And in all the decades years hence? I had work and kids and stuff to do. By stuff, I mean absolutely nothing of value. 

When I got laid off in October 2007, I should have gone to finish my degree. Here it is, 2010, and I have no job AND no degree. True, I had no money. And I had The Boy to worry about. 

And then I moved to MO and got married. And became June Freaking Cleaver.

Why didn't I do the degree after I got here? I'd be just about done now. Crap.

Here are some lame excuses reasons:
a. I STILL don't know what I wanna be when I grow up. I have this fight going on in my head - do I do what I am passionate about (what AM I passionate about?), or get a career where I can earn some CASH?

b. Have you noticed that I'm OLD? Who the hell wants to pay off student loan debt with their Social Security check?

c. Speaking of being old, do I even have the brain power and intestinal fortitude I'd need to get through classes? I know myself well enough to know that I'd want good grades - I wouldn't settle for average. Family time would suffer. 

d. Did I mention I'm OLD? Who the hell would hire me, even if I have a degree? Doesn't anyone know that were in a recession here, folks? Age discrimination, though illegal, is very real.

e. I still have The Boy. Yes, now he's an adolescent - the problems are different. I just don't know how he would deal with all the time I'd have to spend away from home. As it is, if I was 10 minutes late coming home from work, he was calling the office and fretting.

f. This list wouldn't be complete without some acknowledgment of my abject laziness. There, I said it - I'm a slug, but my slime trail is invisible.

Oh, I'm mad at myself. I'm mad at my indecision, at the economy, and mad that I squandered opportunities in the past.

Bad June, bad. I think I need a timeout.
2.) Divorce Dreams…a tempting alternative? A disaster to be avoided? Ever an option? Advice? What’s your take?
I've done the divorce thing - twice. I dreamed about it beforehand. I thought how much better life would be without my husband(s). And ya know what? At some point, it IS better. But it's a long, dark, stormy trip to get to the good stuff. 

Divorce is easier, IMO, if you are the one doing the leaving, rather than the one being left - I've been on both sides of THAT fence.

Divorce is expensive. Divorce is painful. Divorce makes you cry, even when the divorce was your idea. 

Divorce is hard on the children, even if they think you should get divorced, too.

The first year after you separate and decide to divorce is the hardest year you'll ever face. You will mourn your marriage (even the worst match up had some good parts), you will have to learn how to be a single parent (and all that THAT job entails). Your children will be moody and sad and scared and regress. It will suck a big one.

You will learn about the scum of the Earth - attorneys (my apologies to any member of the Bar who is offended). You will spend countless time and way too much money arguing to keep things that don't matter in the long run. Custody and visitation court dates will eat up your time, your mind, and your money.

You will, at times, wonder why you thought of divorce in the first place - then you'll see your ex, and you'll remember.

And after that horrible year is up, and you find a rhythm in life, and things start to go well?

You'll know that, despite the pain and the expense, and the toll on the children - that you did the right thing. And you'll smile, a little.

Then you'll drive to the auto parts store and play "helpless female" to get the young guy behind the counter to change your wiper blades.

Trust me, it works.

4.) List 10 rules you’ve unlearned (meaning 10 things you thought were expected of you or were the “right way” of doing things, but that you now ignore). 
1. The fashion police do not detain me if I dare to wear white after Labor Day.
2. Nobody I've ever known has drowned after downing a meal less than an hour before going swimming in a pool.
3. You can eat sour cream after the expiration date (it's already sour).
4. No matter how many Disney cartoon movies you watch, Prince Charming will NOT be stopping by to rescue your ass. Make your own "happily ever after".
5. Despite many warnings from my mother, my face did NOT freeze "that way".
6. Eating all of the food on my dinner plate will not save one starving child in Ethiopia.
7. Being hyper-attentive to how clean your kids are, and what they touch, will NOT prevent them from catching every popular virus in the neighborhood.
8. I used to think that writing a list of tasks was the best way to keep on top of things. Now I find I lose the list.
9. I used to think that I was worthless if I wasn't the perfect parent. Now I know that being a "good enough" parent is good enough.
10. I used to believe in The Golden Rule. Now I know that with some people, it should be "do unto others BEFORE they do unto you".


  1. I enjoyed so much everything you wrote to day. truth, humor, and a bit of motivation- you can go back to school if you want. Just take it one class at a time!

  2. I didn't get a Degree too... Just went for 1 year Diploma in IT and left when I got the cert cos my parents couldn't afford to sponsor me further.

    Decided to stop studying and get a job then... And it's been what... 11 years now... and before I quit my IT job last June to be a SAHM, I know I earned more than most of my friends who had degrees and went overseas to study.

    Maybe its because I started young and hence, got more experience in years compared to my friends. I had no regrets or feel angry or anything for not able to continue studying.

    If you ask me will I consider going back to study, I'd still say no... even if I have the money to do so now.

    Thanks for sharing this article. Happy Thursday to you from Malaysia!

  3. Things I've unlearned from reading your post: If I divorce Dumb Dad I will not find Prince Charming, plus I will be broke and probably sad. But, if it's not going to work out I should dump him before he has a chance to dump me. Got it! Hopefully that'll never happen, but nice to know if it does I'm prepared! Thanks:)

  4. I am 24 and didn't finish college the first time around (long long story) but I only have 27 credits left to go to get my Public Relations Bachelors and I'm going back this summer.

    True the debt is one thing that makes people not want to go back but I think college is a great thing for people that love to learn and want to continue learning! Maybe soon you'll have a revelation about what you want to be when you grow up :)

  5. I am in love with your list of rules. I wish I'd written it. I'm terrible aren't I? I get writer's envy constantly.

    Stopping by from Mama Kat's.

  6. Hi. Found your blog through Mama Kat's workshop. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote. You have a great blog! :)

  7. I love the list of rules that you've unlearned! I lose my freaking list, too!

  8. I love your list of things for #4!

  9. Great responses! I too am mad that I haven't finished my bachelors. I have 2 yes only TWO classes to finish (at least according to what was required 15 years ago when I left school for a job). Those classed are two lame FRESHMAN classes. :)

    Wonderful list of rules.

  10. This is a great post. I'm back in school working towards my bachelor's degree after finally choosing to ignore my reasons(very similar to yours) for not going back.

    I don't regret it one bit. I will probably be paying off student loan debt with my Social Security check, but to me it will be worth it. I've finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, which helps, and I'm learning a lot about myself in this process.

    I don't think it's ever too late, and I don't think you can ever be too old, to learn. Though I do have to say that my laziness can sometimes get me into trouble...or at least adds additional stress that I probably don't need.

  11. I liked your take on divorce (and especially about attorneys).

    And I liked your rule #10.

    But I'm confused as to why being red colored is bad (I'm a maroon)? Did you perhaps mean moron? Then I can agree with you. {*grin*}

  12. It's your birthday?? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    I laughed so hard when you put Maroon...I immediately heard that voice in my head...Bugs...what a maroon! I should have gone back to get my Masters as well!
    I did the divorce twice and I LOVED that part of Prince Charming will not be stopping by! Classic!!

  13. The number 10 rule is so true!!

  14. I really enjoyed reading your post. It's incredible and amazing how much life you've lived.

    To be honest, I have a degree but I'm not exactly in a happy place with what I do and where I am right now. I really wish I knew what it is that I wanted to do. Sure, I can earn money with a job using my degree but there is very little enjoyment there sometimes. Not only that but paying off the student loans for a degree I didn't really care for makes it even more painful to swallow.

    Your take on divorce is very thought provoking. I really, truly hope that I don't ever have to experience the pain of going through a divorce. It just doesn't sound good. It sounds so painful and exhausting.

    I love your list of "unlearned" things. So many of them are true :) I can't believe I fell for so many of those growing up :)

  15. So much to say! Including HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    First, do not be tough on yourself about the degree. You have/had a million valid reasons not to do it ... and in the end, I don't think it would make all that much difference.

    Second, you're right on with the divorce thing. Hardest thing I've ever had to do ... but also the best ... even though I chose to leave it was still freaking hard.

    Third, love your non-rules. We even had the same one! : )


    4. No matter how many Disney cartoon movies you watch, Prince Charming will NOT be stopping by to rescue your ass. Make your own "happily ever after".

    Truest rule EVER

  17. I enjoyed the entire post, but the 10 rules are PERFECT! As a matter of fact, I'm printing them out to put on my clipboard at work for when I need a reality check and a smile - so true, so true!!


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!