All my life I’ve heard my parents say, save your money, you’re going to college. There was never really a plan, just a hope. Every quarter, dime, and penny went into my little pink ceramic piggy bank. Of course, I robbed that piggy bank as often as I stuffed it. Hence, when I started college I had no savings. For the most part, I paid cash all the way through undergrad. It took me twenty years to complete that degree!
I started working on my graduate program about 10 years ago. I’ve always figured that if I finish it within 20 years, I’m doing great! However, at the rate I’ve been going, 20 years might be optimistic.
I know that a lot of people complete degrees, raise families, work full-time, and build their careers, but I’m not sure I’m motivated to do that. I took a class last April and just doing the class work was hard on my family and I. Now the course work is due and other squeaky wheels have been getting my grease. So, suddenly, I’m faced with a deadline to read two very academic and esoteric books, and write several papers.
I’ve spent the last couple of days focused on nothing but reading and writing. I passed up and opportunity to spend an afternoon with my Dad, who is visiting us from Colorado. Several times, I’ve had to shoo my kids out of my office, or sneak away from family meals and such. Yesterday I missed a big work session with a bunch of volunteers and today I’ve been fighting a headache and sleep deprivation.
Tonight I had an important board meeting where I needed to present, plead, and process. Just before leaving the house, I told my wife that this busyness is craziness. Everyone we know is always busy. What happened to the days when families sat on the front porch and drank lemonade together?
I’ve decided that I don’t need to finish this degree
I’ve decided that I don’t need to finish this degree. This is not an easy decision for me. I’m a finisher. I’m a man of responsibility. I’m one who does what he says he’s going to do. But, I don’t need the degree to further my career. And I don’t need it to increase my pay.
As this thought began to sink in, I realized that I don’t need to complete this course either. I’ve learned much, and the professor is great – I hate to let him down actually. But I have about 2 more sleepless nights before I can call it quits, and I’m not sure it’s worth it.
Like I’ve said before, my family is more important
My Darling Daughter is starting to show signs of naughtiness, motivated by her need for more attention. In addition, my Dad is in town and I haven’t seen him since last Christmas.
So, tonight, after a very challenging board meeting, I sent my professor and email asking what is the minimum I would need to finish to get a passing grade, and when is the absolute deadline. I’m hoping he’ll have pity and let me slide. If not, I’ll just take an indefinite incomplete.
Like I’ve said before, my family is more important.
It’s not enough to just have good boundaries. I also need good margins to absorb the unexpected. That, and a healthy dose of the elusive discipline, and maybe I can help my kids stand on my shoulders and achieve their dreams.
I’m done being a world changer. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and several plaques on my walls.