Thursday, December 4, 2014

Common Sense Rule #97

Sometimes being selfish is OK.


I was speaking with a girlfriend at school today.  We were discussing her plans following graduation and her dilemma as to whether she should go on to grad school or not.

Mind you, this isn't just her life we were discussing, but her fiance's as well.

She said that she didn't think it was fair to him for her to choose to go on to grad school because she knows how she is when she goes to school: very self-involved with practices and homework, a perfectionist, and last but not least, not a very social person.  How could she put him through more of that when he's been very understanding so far and has a good job that he enjoys here?

We discussed the pros and cons of grad school and doing it now, while she's young, and waiting to possibly return to it as she gets older.  And, as it always does with us and this conversation, we got around to children.

It's hard.  Very hard.

My first two years at Iowa Lakes really weren't too difficult for our family.  Really, my class schedule was not much different than having a day job.  Most days I took the kids to school.  Most days I picked them up in the afternoon.  Very seldom did I miss events, although it did happen on occasion, just like it does with working parents.

Then I started at Buena Vista.

That first semester was the hardest.  I cried almost every morning on my way to school.  

We were having problems at home.  Arguing.  Chores weren't getting done.  Homework wasn't getting done.  No one was happy.  I was missing everything.  

Then I cried almost every night on my way home from school.

I hated the thought of walking into the house with the arguing.  Knowing laundry wasn't getting done.  Knowing I could be up late to help someone accomplish homework that should have been done before I got home.

I felt it was selfish of me to spend this much time away from my family.  Especially, as I was reminded, since I wasn't really sure what my final goal and plans were at the end of the degree.

I was a mess.

How do you explain that my experience at 36 is no different than any other college student, except that they are being selfish at 18, when they have no one but themselves to answer for it?  A 14-year-old girl doesn't understand that.  How could she when her father doesn't even understand it?

But I stormed ahead thinking someday someone may look back and realize that this was just something I had to do.  For myself.  Even if it took me away from them for a while.

And maybe even be proud of me for being selfish.