Well here we go! Today I begin the first day of my final semester of university. I cannot believe that it is here, today, now. I started this journey in 2010 when I signed up for one course…and then realized that if I continued to take one course a year, it would take FOREVER to finish. So, I put it on the back burner or someday/maybe.
Well that someday came in 2018.
I was working in a field that I LOVED, but not in an environment that I felt valued. Because of this, I didn’t feel that I was offering value anymore. Everyday felt like an uphill battle, that I didn’t want to fight in a workplace. For me, being a Sustainability professional has meant fighting an uphill battle permanently. I didn’t mind this fight when I was around others who could also hold the reins once in a while. Sometimes, these reins feel full of lead and when there is no one to hold them up with you, it can take everything you’ve got to keep going.
So, I decided to put them down and step away.
The battle would continue but not here. Not in a place where I felt that I needed to justify the purpose of the position.
Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.Carl G. Jung
University beckoned me once again with its siren song. I listened this time, noticing the deeper, inviting tones of this melody… I answered its call.
I had been dreaming of this since I was little. In fact, university was the first big word that I could spell and I was proud of that. I didn’t know what it was, or what it really meant but I wanted to know. When I was at an age to look at paths post-high school, I was in a place where I didn’t believe this was available to me. I was a strong-willed young woman who was trying hard to keep it all together. Family life was rough and there never seemed to be any adults around.
I followed a path of my own design. I went to college and studied Tourism and Travel because all I wanted to do was tour and travel! This is what I did for years, I set my sails and bumped around the waters of different countries, regions, cities, and towns. It is because of this path that I became an environmental renegade and began a career engaging people with environmental awareness and action! I have loved this path and all of the adventures that have come with it.
This past weekend I turned 40.
This time has been looming a little as I swallow a bit of a lump in my throat. I was not prepared to become 40. When I turned 30, I took myself on a backpacking trip through Mexico because I didn’t want to wake up in my basement bachelor apartment on my own.
When I turned 35, I went backpacking in Spain with my great friend and best travel companion. And now, 40 is here and my ‘big adventure’ is to finish my university degree and prepare to start a Masters program!
Somehow, this adventure is the scariest one that I’ve taken. In all of my travels, especially the solo ones, I have never felt so nervous and excited. This place that I am in is a place of pride, joy, fear, and a whole bunch of fuck ya!
What does 40 even mean? The amount of reflection, self-awareness, regret, unsaid words, laughter, joys, and life that has been poured into these years is incredible! But truly, I’m not sure I even feel the way 40 feels…or maybe I do. This is a time when people like to take stock of their life so far and determine whether or not it’s where they want to be. Movies are made about the ‘midlife’ crisis that takes over for a lot of men at this time. But what happens to women?
For me, I am chosen child-free and so my life markers are a bit different. My time isn’t gauged by the age of my children and the milestones that they are hitting. My day’s look quite different from those of my twenties when my priorities were to know which bars had the cheapest deals on which nights. Today, I feel tired by 9:00 pm and my body hurts more frequently than it should. I don’t like crowds, or loud noises and I have found a love of instrumental music.
Beginning university in my late thirties brought its own worries.
I was nervous about being the same age as some of my peers’ parents. I didn’t want to be the old ‘know it all’ or the one with outdated references. I wanted to feel a part of the class and comfortable with the process. I was scared about the knowledge gap, and how I was going to be able to write essays.
To my surprise, I fit right in! I love to watch the younger students learn and see their ideas open up to possibilities. The way they connect old thoughts with new concepts is inspiring to see. I love the depth of conversation and my complete love of everything I read!
School is hard. I am a full-time student and that’s because IT IS FULL-TIME! When a semester starts, I am in it. My thoughts, time, conversations, work, everything is about each course’s materials. I am in the process of being educated.
While in school, I have had to hold 3 jobs and make time for post-secondary organizations to help with graduate school preparations. I have pivoted, like so many students and teachers, to online learning…which sucks! I have been stressed over finals and drank way too much coffee. I have ignored my diet in the final months of each semester as I focus only on each task at hand. I get excited to talk about things I’m reading and I can’t wait for each class to go further into it!
I am 40 and in the final semester of my university degree! I do not know what will come after April when this adventure comes to an end, but I know that I am going to like the journey getting there!
I want to share this experience with you and hope that you’ll join me!
Wish me luck,