I just got a letter from the University of Minnesota. I've been accepted to their School of Liberal Arts.
I've been in a state of high-tension anxiety since I submitted my application about three weeks ago. (Yes, I know. Poor me. Three whole weeks. THREE TERRIFYING, ULCER-INDUCING WEEKS.) As a “non-traditional” student (older, already holding an Associate's degree) I was relatively confident I would be accepted... except when I wasn't confident, which was pretty much all the time. I mean, honestly. What was I thinking, applying to a Real University? Obviously I'm just some idiot trying to pretend I'm world-wise and intellectual and will fit in with all the young, artistic types who will doubtless be filling the classes I'll be in. I went from desperately hoping for an acceptance letter to wishing I could take the application back to being completely convinced there was no way I would get in. Approximately six times a minute.
Now that I've hoodwinked them- er, I mean, I'm in and the self-confidence flail is done (related to acceptance in the program anyway), I can start to focus on exactly what the hell I've gotten myself into. Which boils down to: quitting my job and going to University full-time at the age of thirty-three.
OMG SO EXCITING.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was getting my Associate's degree (in Sign Language Interpreting) was being in way too much of a hurry. I didn't really care about what I was learning or experiencing; I only cared about getting that paper in my hands as quickly as possible, so I could start working. I firmly affixed my blinders about the reality of the field, and never really found my love of the work. I never excelled, and although I spent a couple of years working in the field, I never succeeded. I did the minimum I had to do to get by, and in the end it wasn't enough.
It's something I've beat myself up over a lot in the past year or so. It took a long time for me to come to terms with the reality of the situation: that interpreting is not for me.
It took even longer to realize that what I should be doing is what I've always wanted to do: to write, to act, to create, to dream.
I turned cynical at a very young age, for a variety of reasons. I gave up on being a writer or an actor or an artist by the time I graduated from high school. Even then, I was already looking for that elusive thing that I could do whether I really loved it or not, with the goal of supporting myself in a hard, cruel world. So I tossed my dreams aside and spent the next ten years bouncing from place to place, from job to job, finding things that captured my fancy for a while but never anything that was really true. And all along I knew that art and expression were what really turned me on... but I was convinced that it was simply not realistic to attempt such flighty pursuits. Not when there were bills to be paid.
I still have bills and obligations and the realistic fear that I won't be able to support myself. Or that I'll try this and I'll still end up working as an office assistant somewhere. The thing is, somewhere along the way everything changed. I realized that the only thing standing in my way is these fears. And the thing is, I can't let that stop me anymore. Scary as it may be, I have to take a leap. I have to follow my dreams and see where they take me. I think I'm finally ready to do that.
I'm about to start a great adventure...