Tuesday

Don't the THAT stop you

Caroline, my friend,

Life is complicated, isn't it?

Today my son asked me if I attended grade 13.

I said simply, "no" and intended to avoid further explanation, so I backed it up with silence.

The kid quickly followed up with another question: "Was it voluntary back then?" (Read: back in the Dark Ages.)

I was temporarily saved by embarrassment of being honest and admitting that I didn't get a diploma during my three-year stay at Viking High.

Ironically, I think it was my lack of education that made me work harder to prove myself in the workplace. I stayed late, arrived early, and took every extra assignment I could in hopes that that would make up for what I was lacking on my resume.

In hindsight, I could have been working towards a better goal than I had.

All that effort could have gone towards a career in journalism, or advertising. A reporter seems like such a noble calling, and a copywriter seems like a great creative outlet. And either would have been more interesting than the lifetime I have spent in the commerce industry.

All in all, I've arrived here (which, let's face it, is only half-way to where I want to go) in a round-about way, but at least I'm on the right track.

And I'd say that you are, too.

Thursday

Your cheque is in the mail

Em,

I know that you are concerned about money and of your social standing, and of what other people think---about you, about your situation. It is difficult, given our backgrounds, not to worry about these things.

We were raised to focus on such things because let's face it, folks in a blue-collar town hardly have the luxury of considering where to spend a summer vacation, or which countries they'll visit in Europe when they take take their annual, month-long holiday (without the kids).

You need an income. Agreed.

Let's figure out what you might be able to do. Any ideas? Or shall I just start tossing out occupations that come to mind?

Bear this in mind:
Margaret Atwood says, "You can have money on your own; you can marry money; you can attract a patron...you can have a day job; or you can sell to the market."

A list of regrets

Lorelei,

As you know, I regret not attending university.

For me, so many other things about my high school homework days remain the same. I will work in front of the television, and I don't always do as well as I could. When I'm writing in my home office, I find myself staring off into space or out the window, just as I remember doing in English class.

Speaking of English class, do you know that I have three text books (one for each year of study!)?

Yep. Among the dozens upon dozens of hardcover books on four bookshelves (seriously) sit Lord of the Flies, Romeo and Juliet, and Merchant of Venice.

I must have told my English teacher that I had forgotten them. They didn't track text books in those days, like they do now.

How odd, though, don't you think, that these are the only things I have from that time in my life? (I tossed my high school year books long ago.)

If you're starting to second-guess your decision, I'd say you're already re-living one of your regrets and by doing so, you've managed to right a wrong decision.

Will making a list of regrets serve any purpose? I dunno, but it might be freeing to so that you've accomplished so much more than you think you did.

My own list of regrets is long. And each year it becomes shorter.

I promise you that you'll feel stronger for having removed at least one item from the list.