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Already Made My Mark

August 12, 2008

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.

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4 Comments
  1. Sharon permalink
    August 12, 2008 5:14 am

    I thought the same thing, didn’t have time for school, had a career that was plenty; that is until I because interested in Cognitive and Social Psychology in pushing my tech career further in a slightly different direction.

    I didn’t think I’d have time for school, let alone actually get into a University after years out of high school; luckily I found the right place for me. Marylhurst University was a great place to be a working adult with a family and still get a thorough, quality education. Finishing a degree seemed possible.

    So, well, much as I wouldn’t encourage you to quit, I can see that you’ve really thought it out. And quitting something doesn’t seem to be the norm for you, so, I guess you understand the pros and cons.

    I wish you luck on your decision and journey of how school might fit in for you in your life.

  2. August 12, 2008 8:26 am

    You are changing the world by making this decision. I hear you 100%. How we learned that crazy busyness is the way to live is beyond me. When we get off that crazy path, a whole new world opens up. And you change the world in more ways than you’ll know. I strongly believe it. Kudos for listening to yourself.

  3. August 12, 2008 11:17 am

    A day of peach picking and kayaking is in due order, indeed.
    My hat’s off to you for coming to a difficult decision. Sounds like you’ve learned a lot along the way too.

  4. August 12, 2008 1:16 pm

    Congratulations on getting to this decision. I read a post the other day that was titled “What if Success is Measured by Happiness?” The last line said:

    “Why not evaluate what you’re doing in your life. Are you feeding your happiness or your ego and society’s expectations?”

    The bottom line is, being happy is the pinnacle of success (IMHO). I commend you on following your life’s passions and devoting yourself to what is really important to you.

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