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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paying the Price of Forty: Education and Situation

While no one is immune to feeling out of place, or not amongst their friends, or surrounded by critics who would like nothing more than you not to succeed, or indeed, would find humor in your failure, you would like to believe educated minds would be otherwise. Or maybe, learning-to-be-educated minds is a better label.

This week has been one of those. Certain classmates, and places I've grown to visit, were not the friendly atmosphere I desired. Now, it did not result in overt conflict. Just...you get that gut feeling that you are the outsider, the outcast, and there in lies the bulk of the barrier.

Being comfortable with myself has been an issue for years. But it was getting better - really, not a problem. Sure it was not easy given the year of 2011, but that was an aside, a crisis to grow from, thus to my own development. Now though, I wonder, "what do these people really think?" It does not matter - unless - they provide grades, which I get to see later if they are really worthy of their titles.

Many times people are a bit too oft-putting when they expect a great amount of explanation of what writing is or is not. Or the tumultuous ride of breaking down what someone else said. Even as you know, and have said so, in a rather unambiguous way - through writing. Explaining it out loud, well, I still have some work on that.

I have not decided yet whether to go The Full Monty, leaving inhibitions to the lonely crackers down by river. (That's a mash-up of metaphors.) But, there is risk to that: many see me as the 40-year old putting back to academic sea without any map, or hope of making any real landfall. That the island of washouts is far, far more likely than successful navigation to a fruitful and flourishing paradise of my own visioning and construction.

Now, that is trepidation. The intrepid musings of someone probably caught between knowing more about what he does unconsciously (yet, conscious of it) while others meander around their abilities, consciously flawed, but also, consciously making little room for others doing, being, and expanding abilities in it.

The direct approach has never been too successful. Unless...we just talk together in some unsuitable setting - a bar, a gym, a greasy soup off some highway at four in the morn - there, in that moment, I'll tell what it really is. Not the philosophical high-mindedness that academia loathes to admit is never too far from being as useless as a religion without spirituality, or a life's work without true love.

No, instead I have to hide some intellect, or pretend, because people say, "if you were so smart...you wouldn't be here in a basic class." Really? Who are you, anyways?Whether titled, or hairless, like a deposed king in the 8th century, you are but a rocking dingy on a sea to essentially nowhere. All the best laid plans, and dreams of glory, will (and can) shatter in the course of a single life decision. I've see it - and done it, as most 40-somethings and beyond have.

Experiencing utter failure is wisdom's handmaiden.

As I approach forty, I get more looks of disdain or incredulity at being apart of the milieu that is the college experience. I suppose some figure me a loser, a slacker, a person that has paid no prices, or does not even know the cost. Admittedly, I did not do much of the leg work and long hours it would take (and will take) these scholars-to-be to become marginally-talented to an expert-to-a-bias some twenty years ago. But I'll suggest, that in a decade of time, I have paid more a debt or service to this present craft than many will likely be able to understand.

I have to pay more to prove that investment turns into a picturesque sunset just as I sail into a harbor that fascinates and enlivens me forward to a better destiny I often thought I should easily reach, but never saw a treasure map guiding me to it. While some will give over to religious exposure and decry anyone that will not go to that altar freely, and devotedly, I suspect my long-term still does not include me proselytizing to the lost masses (or the throng of people devoid of anything called a moral compass).

These are the thoughts, behind the simple utterances, as I sometimes wander, off-topic in the mind during my introductory courses. I want to add more; but the stares and the smirks just really put one in a public box. But that has to change - if I ever will overcome the conformational bias that is creeping into my mind.

By February, I must take the unknown heading I diverted from, first to assist a dying mother, then to make a go at college work, once again. By that, I mean, I must put out the final representation of six years of hard work.

The education and situation warrants it.

And my future depends on it.

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