What’s Coming Up?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am graduating from college.  For realsies.  In a month I will have a diploma with my name on it that says something about the work I’ve done.  Shame though that it does not have some kind of signification of years on it like people who have worked somewhere for a long time.  Some places you get a star or a stripe on your uniform if you’ve been around long enough.  At Wal-Mart, my dad got a different colored badge to show that he had been with the company for 25 years.  So my diploma should be printed on platinum paper.  I reached the ten-year mark.  What metal is ten years?

I always feel the need to defend myself, especially in situations like this where it doesn’t look like I tried very hard.  I guess I just worry about what other people think.  The explanation I have given for taking so long is that I took a year and a half off.  That’s true.  However, I didn’t know that was the plan until after I had done it.  The fall of 2006 was supposed to be my last semester, but for some reason I got depressed.  Now some people claim that there might be a woman at fault in this situation, lord knows I put myself through unnecessary stress, but the girl was not the reason things went the way they did.  The more I have examined myself and spoken to councilors and received feedback from friends, the more I have been able to see what the issue was inside my brain:

I didn’t want to grow up.

Why?  Well because growing up sucks.  I thought that grown-ups made plans for the future and that took the fun out of life.  I was afraid to embrace success, so I didn’t plan.  Because I didn’t plan, I didn’t know what I had to look forward to.  When you don’t have anything to look forward to, work seems meaningless.  I wasn’t alone either.  Plenty of people struggle with this issue coming out of college.  I guess that’s why some people get a degree and don’t do anything with it.  Sometimes they can’t but sometimes they won’t.  So, I discovered that if I was going to have a purposeful, meaningful life, I had to plan for something.  That’s actually not lame when you think about it.  And I know one thing I have always had to look forward to is the possibility of leaving Papa John’s and getting a job that pays more money.  A guy my age shouldn’t be living from paycheck to paycheck.  It’s just not right.

Now, I said that I had been in school for ten years, but took a year and a half off.  Perhaps that needs explanation, too.  You see, when fall 2006 ended, I had incomplete or “X” grades.  I made an agreement with my teachers on how to complete the work, and when I did, I would get a real grade.  I didn’t do it.  Instead, I became more depressed that I hadn’t done it.  I procrastinated for the better part of the time I took “off”.  I brought this up because the newest thing I have to look forward to now is not having school work hanging over my head.  I have forgotten what it was like to have a weekend or even a weekday afternoon without worrying about what assignments were due and if I had enough time to finish them.  When I wasn’t in school, I thought about my “X” grades every day, but I didn’t know what was going to happen if I finished them or even why I should have.  I would get brief surges of confidence and hit the book hard for a day, but a week or two went by and they began to gather dust once more.  They were the monkey on my back.  Now I’ve found a way to get rid of the monkey.  I have bananas, apparently.

Now I have arrived at a place where I want to be.  I don’t know what is going to happen, but I welcome change with open arms.  I think I’m more able to handle it now that before.  Who knows?  I might become brave enough to pull up stakes and move out of Arkansas.  That would be a big change, and I can make friends easily.  However, I think I will plan one step at a time.  First thing’s first; I have to go get my Christmas on!




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