In January my guy reminded me, which he often does, that it’s about time to figure out where I want to go for graduate school. He tells me that he loves me, he supports my dreams, and that he’s willing to go wherever I want to go.
This is NOT helpful.
Don’t be fooled; this is not the first time we’ve had this discussion. There’s usually some give and take. I want to make sure he is ok with moving somewhere far, as in across the country even, with a completely different lifestyle. He reiterates how much he’s open and he can get a job wherever we go. “Don’t worry about it!” he says. I want to make sure the place is Kid and family friendly. He says that we already make Naomi feel loved and she’ll flourish wherever we are.
It’s a broken record.
This isn’t a problem, you might say. You might even be giving me some side-eye right now. Let me explain. I’m the type of person that’s very, very indecisive when my decisions will literally change someone else’s life. I mean, I mull over changes in my life. Weighing the pros and cons until there’s a clear-cut path for me to choose. Then I take it with no regrets.
That’s how it was when I first moved to Florida. My lease was up and I had the choice to renew for another year or make a change. I talked with my coworkers (a group of older women who had been ‘stuck’ in the same job for 20+ years) and they practically begged me to leave. “You’re young!” they said. “You don’t have any children and you aren’t married or in a relationship. This is the perfect time to start over. Girl, take your dreams and go.” So, I took that advice and ran with it. I packed only what I could fit in my car (hey, even old me wanted to become a minimalist!) and drove the 19 hours with a friend in the passenger seat. See, I’ve only had to make decisions for myself, before Tony and Naomi, and so it’s scary do otherwise.
So it’s seriously a big deal to me.
It’s not just about the school and what kind of education I will get. I know all about the risks of going into academia. I know, I know, I know, I know. People never let me forget. “It’s so hard to find teaching jobs now,” or “I don’t think you know how tough it is to break into that world,” or “Why don’t you just write as a side job?” I get it. But this is my dream. I will go all in. However, I’m also aware that – WHATEVER I end up doing – finding something straight out of a school, EVEN with a Master’s, is slim. We will most likely live wherever I go to school for years after I graduate. There’s also that fear that I join a program and something happens, like failure, and I end up having to leave school. Then we’ll definitely be stuck in that city, I’ll be emotionally distraught (Obvi), and who knows when we’ll be able to move again. It’s a HUGE decision.
When I choose an MFA program, I am choosing where Naomi will spend the next 5+ years of her life, at least. I’ll also be completely uprooting Tony from his job and a city that he loves. He dreamed of moving to Florida all his life and now I’m asking him to leave. Yes, he says he’s fine with it and it’s time for a new journey (he’s been here 8 years. It’s been 6 years for me) but it’s still a hang up for me. I want to make the right decision for my family. I want to make sure that whatever happens we feel happy about where we live and feel safe in our home.
That’s a lot of pressure when I’m also worrying about ‘am I going to get in?’ I also think ‘what if I choose the wrong school?’ and that’s a big one. What if I DO get accepted to several places and I don’t go with the best offer for me, my education, AND my family? I get chills just thinking about it. Whew.
Thank you for listening to my rant and yes, I know. It’s a little far off. Buuuut….not really. Applications are usually due by December 1st.
I still need 3 recommendation letters, to take the GRE, write my 30 pages of creative nonfiction, complete the classes I’m already taking so I can graduate on time, raise Naomi, foster my skills as a writer, be an attentive and honest woman for my guy, and handle my small business. It’s a lot. I have less than 10 months to do it all. So thank you to those who choose to follow me on this journey to MFA.