A while back, I had emailed an old friend. We were catching up on each other’s lives, and I told him I was studying to get my english degree.
“Oh, that’s great! I’ve always wanted to get an english degree.”
I asked him what was stopping him. I mean really, of all the goals in life, that one is very easy. It’s written down on paper–a checklist!–what you have to do to make it happen.
That’s one of the good things about academia. You can’t miss. It is absolutely clear what it takes to get the prize.
Not too much after that I graduated.
Which meant it got harder. What was next? The paved road ended. It was time to break a new trail.
But it wasn’t exactly a new trail. There seems to be always another degree. I could get a masters degree in something. OR a doctorate.
But I couldn’t quite figure out what the point of it was. What was it for? What did I really want?
maybe, as it happened, i just wanted a prize.
Prizes are good. They MEAN something. In fact, prizes usually state very clearly what they mean:
“For excellence in running the 100 yard dash”
“First place in Watermelon growing”
“For excellence in the study of diversity in the humanities”
I love prizes. Well, there are some that are meaningless. The kidn that everyone gets just for showing up are not highly valued by me.
But I like prizes. In fact, I try to create little things in my life that are like prizes…Like a ‘win’.
Getting up and going to the gym in the morning…that’s a win.
Meeting the bus is a win.
Those are little things that I can accomplish that make me feel good.
So I can stack up all the little things in my day and feel like a winner.
Lately though, the little things aren’t feeling like enough. I want more.
I want wins that take more than a day to accomplish. I want that kind of prize.
I can’t see over the hill though. I passed the flat valley a while back. All the easy prizes, the ones that I wanted to try for, I already got.
What is the next one? I can’t see over the hill.
Or maybe I can. But it’s a long walk.