I was a 49 year old woman with an active family that included 4 biological adult children, a husband, a job working with students 12-18, a home to take care of, and the sole caretaker of unhealthy aging parents (reserving this topic for a future post). After much drilling and consideration and a new iMac computer, I decided with the help of my family to go back to school to pursue a degree in graphic design. Let me add here that I wasn't even really sure what a degree in graphic design was, but I just wanted to learn how to do art on the computer. So after making the decision Dec. 25, 2008, I signed up for my first class on Jan.4, 2009 and started 3 days later.
My first impression upon walking into class: Oh.My.Gosh.What.The.&#$@.Am.I.Doing? That was actually my second and third and twelfth impression as well. The class was Computer Graphics I. It is a beginner class in this program. To clarify "beginner", it really meant that you should already have a working knowledge of all the Adobe Design programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, as well as know your way around a Mac, which I'd owned for 2 short weeks. I felt stupid, stupid, stupid. And to top it off, my instructor was apparently the most brilliant, important, educated, philosophical, expert in his field....the elite fraternity of Junior College Visual Arts Instructors. (I did not assign him those attributes, he himself implied all of them). I learned in the first few weeks, that my best friend on that PJC computer was the COMMAND Z shortcut. For those of you who don't know what that does, it is the PC equivalent to CTRL-ALT-DELETE...to go back a step, to erase what you just did. Man, oh man! Those awkward little squiggles just disappear on the spot!
I have a new community of friends now. I am probably the only one without a tattoo and have the fewest piercings...but they are artists, therefore a very colorful group. My youngest daughter, Andrea, tells me incessantly how glad she is that I have a more worldly view and diverse friendships And she is right! I consider my life richer for expanding my circle to more than just "church" friends, or middle-age grandparents. (But if you really know me, you understand that my circle of friends will NEVER consist of only people my age.)
I'm over halfway through the program now, working 34 hours a week, going to school 12, planning which 2 nights of 7 that I'll actually cook, washing many loads of laundry on Saturdays, folding laundry on Sundays, declining social opportunities because I have projects to complete, scurrying around trying to discover scholarship opportunities for old women going back to school, calling the emergency room to see if either one of my parents has checked in, and still using COMMAND Z in class. But I have learned that you can't use CMD Z in life. No matter how much you've grown up, how many times you've rededicated your life at camp, how many old sweatshirts you've donated to Goodwill, how many tears you've shed, that you just can't undo what you have done...to others, to yourself.
Some changes since I started school: I'm 3 years older, we added a daughter in 2009 and a son in 2010 (thanks to Buddy and Jourdan), Andrea brought new life to our first grandchild in May 2011 (Baby Bobby), my boss quit, my aging parents are unhealthier than ever, and I have a fish named Nick. Did I mention I'm 3 years older?
Things that haven't changed: I am still married to a wonderful man, I still get more pleasure out of my family than I deserve, I still can't find matches to socks, I still plan trips I'll never take, I still don't exercise regularly, and I still love teenagers. (not ALL teenagers so don't start making plans to ship me yours). I am still using the CMD Z option like crazy and I am still making mistakes in life I wish I could erase. However, I hope to put those paints to proper use. And if I happen to get a tattoo, I'll post it proudly.
And here is what it will look like: