A Blog about a cheerful optimist...
one that has overcome foreclosure, gone back to college for the first time in 27 years, gotten an AA, a BA also...now halfway through the Masters and believes that everything always works out for the best because it really does.
To me, writing is like taking a snapshot in time. I can not
possibly write about everything I care about or everything I see shifting. All
I can do is catch small snapshots in time…windows where I can stop and
consciously look about me and figure out what is going on in the moment,
I awoke this morning to a life I just love. I have had two
days to rest and recoup from years of studies without a break. I have been
studying through the January break, summer break….going back to 2012...That is where I
stand today….I am relaxing…breathing….
The finals were hard…nail biting affairs where I felt I was
on the verge of being pushed out over a C….(in this school an A, B and C were
my grades last term…that C got me put on academic probation!)
The Development Project Management program I just finished
after the term was also pretty intense….lots of nail biting there….and pushing
myself to the limits and in my opinion I found myself doing a mediocre job….but
fathoming everything I could get my mind to wrap around. I also loved the
connections to the people around me. I will give myself a great inner score for
trying so hard…and getting the point of our studies so clearly aligned in my
It seemed to illustrate the points being presented to have
new, outsiders in our midsts…guests working on certifications….civilians I
guess…..they added ideas and outlooks and improved the atmosphere that was swollen
with other regulars at the school, thrown together from a couple of programs.
Don't get me wrong, I love the regulars. I love everything about this school
since I am convinced that it is a clear representation of what world peace
would feel like….but having non schoolees adds so much more to the mix….like a
time I attended a lecture that had many retired brass from the military school
nearby mixed with economic developers and disaster relief people as well as
other students from many disciplines at the school. I felt that during that
lecture format I had seen the future that was not so full of paradigms that
divided military and relief efforts….a world where everyone could share the one
goal of building up together after relief. After all the military held many
lessons that the disaster relief people could gain from and vice versa.
The subject matter on innovation in my already completed summer program made it clear that mixing
together new people creates new innovations and ideas since the outliers are
the ones who will create new outlooks and perspectives. And inadvertently create
answers or new ideas coupled with conversations with the older entrenched handlers of the problem.
I felt that this was the single best lesson of the series
(which was frankly chock full of them!)…innovations are created by allowing
different groups to play with the information and come up with fresh ideas…..
What a novel concept!! And this idea is not just some new idea
toyed around amongst a handful of side bar groups. This is a concept being
embraced by the UN, which is now encouraging its employees to work elsewhere
for a few years! The old paradigm of finding an employer and sticking with them
until retirement is thankfully dead for the time being. I never did believe
that fairy tale…I never saw an employer that really took care of its people to
deserve that kind of loyalty.
It might have been OK to think like that in the 60s when a
company will take care of you now and your family until you die… when a person
could work from 25 to 65 for the same place since technology was moving forward
at a crawl compared to now….but lets look at today….every few years innovations
are causing us to learn new devices and programs that can turn out to be the
only tools for the trade in whatever field you move or cling to. Consider your
smart phone, your computer….your laptop….your smaller netbook….your even
smaller tablet….that is simply today’s devices…which will shift tomorrow I am
Everything I learned at my junior college in 1981, is
completely out of date….the psychology, the English…(we don’t put a period
after the initials for CA anymore!)…my Astronomy book assures me there are nine
planets…my ex learned to draw with paper, pencils and stencils in his
architecture courses! Not one CAD computer in sight back then!
How ridiculous it seems to consider our school lives done
after a first BA! We should all be figuring on going back to some sort of educational
experience every thirty years if you ask me….we are living longer and yet we
cling to those old moldy paradigms that leave the educational status to the
young at heart and mind…yet in my school some of the best educators are not
younger then 65! I think it is a crazy way to look at life to assume that
education is complete and work is done at 65 when 1/3 babies is expected to
live to be 100 now in the US…perhaps we should look more at the older concepts
that every society on the planet adheres to….older people have experienced
stuff….they hold wisdom every younger person could learn from….
From my perspective we should be recruiting older people to
be returning to school and bringing forth their wisdom and experience…coupled
with new fresh studies….and enhance the planet with real learning experiences.
Lucky for me….my grad school seems to already be into the
idea of making sure our learning experience has real components from people who
have actually done these exciting positions in life and kept themselves relevant
by updating constantly and interacting with other groups and divisions in the school.
This cross-breeding style of knowledge has enhanced the
outlay that I find offered in my program. I can experience classes with hands on
background wisdom from many different ideas….we have economics professors with
a heavy bend on the environment….and a favorite economic development professor who has
also worked in the OECD and throughout South America….we have a strong military
influence that also has its hands in Terrorism Studies and a huge influence by
the Peace Corps.
I think it is this same focus on sharing knowledge and
intermixing the different divisions that makes my school superior at creating
new fresh minds for creating my imaginary peaceful world.
Just my snapshot view….I guess it could change tomorrow….but
I think it is crucial to start investing heavily in our aged population’s wisdom…not
just for improving the US GDP but for the world’s enhancement.
There are other countries on the planet where women are
discouraged from working. With half the population not allowed to bring in a
cash income they have forced their countries to always play second fiddle to
the others of us who encourage everyone but children and older people to work.
Imagine how much less our country would have achieved if we had benched half of
our best players instead of encouraging them as we have to some degree.
In some ways we have done the same to a crowd that has been getting
significantly healthier and more mentally fit then ever over the last 50 years.
If someone wants to retire at 65, by all means let them. But
what if we are benching some of the wisest, best and brightest….way before their
time? Having a hearing aid does not make you less wise….or incapable of sharing
a vast wealth of experience with the rest of us, with or without an education.
But what if we started treating the over 65 crowd like they should be free to
choose options….opt in, opt out…or change your mind at will?
What if we started actually encouraging the over 65 crowd to
come back to school? What if we allowed them to know that they hold wisdom that
might be useful….very useful…if they came back with their old knowledge of the
Cold War era mixed with the new technologies? This could be a unique blending
of the best of both worlds that can handle issues and provide answers to global
warming, national security, environmental disasters and cyber security…..and we
could wind up adding some fresh old faces to the mix that might really cause some
amazing innovations…..just my take I know but I want to go to my school with a
proposal about this same issue…I have already brought it up at a meeting with
the school’s president…though I just mentioned it on the side….he seemed to
understand what I was saying…so now I plan on taking my studies over the last
weeks and creating a proposal for my school to be the front line in this
concept I have about encouraging the older crowd to come back…they might laugh
at me or take a while to think of it but even the mere creation of this
proposal is, for me, an exercise in practicing my last modules of school study
during my Development Management Program. That means that no matter what, I can’t
lose….it is the trying that is always worth doing.
I have been in an intensive program that has pushed not only
me but just about everyone else to our limits. I have been reduced to tears
more than once. Better people then I think of myself as being have been close
But what good stuff I am learning!! I am learning how to
actually do Development work abroad within the confines of the big agencies and
the little NGOs….and this was my first and greatest reason for going back to school
in the first place…and why I chose this particular coastal town to study…it has
a strong emphasis on having an international focus…..and a keen awareness of the
importance of working with languages and cultures and thinking big and small…with
a large percentage of international students…we really are a touch of world
travel all within a campus zone.
I love the fact I can hear any language I can imagine within
a 15 minute stretch of walking around in this environment. I have always had a
great love of accents, alphabets and languages….but here I have been developing
my ear at an amazing pace….I guess more importantly though I have been learning
a lot about people and myself….
It is a strange thing to year to travel to foreign lands now
to see the families and homelands of my friends.
Two nights ago, I was enjoying a Happy Hour college
experience…and marveling with my professor of the week over a fellow students
satellite vision of the roof of her home in Asia. The little red roof actually
took up a big chunk of the block…I suspected this sweet, calm friend who speaks
several languages might be rather well to do….I wondered if she would be
uncomfortable in my cute little beach bungalow.
During this intensive I am gathering tools in a manner that
is somewhat intimidating. It isn’t easy to already be studying with the best
and the brightest that one can imagine inhabits life in grad school….but couple
it into a program where the pace is accelerated enough to knock out the far
stronger hearted people around me and you see why I feel like I am constantly
treading water….this is not a simple position in life. I was equally surprised
and amazed to find that all those students around me that I viewed as superior
in so many ways….well, they also felt like they were struggling…which actually
amounted to quite a nice gift to my ego and student heart and mind.
One of my class members, is a brilliant young man who always
is calm and collected. His ease of expression and his demeanor of power allowed
me to feel a sense of trust when I worked on a project with him….I mean it felt
good to defer to him since he seemed to have a clue….later on, after our class
ended but when we were all in social mode…I learned that he was not some
spoiled little rich kid raised in the lap of luxury as I had imagined would
help him foster such a confidence level….it turned out that his struggles in
getting here included much more then getting English under his belt…he had
serious obstacles in his way to make it here from his home continent…and I felt
his story gave me a large amount of confidence to build on…as if he somehow
transferred some of his confidence and inner strength….it all made me feel even
better as I stretched myself to higher heights.
Somehow I am nearing my one year mark of entering grad
school and leaving my home behind. I always feel like I am hanging by a skinny
tether…yet somehow I made it here….I am poised for another week of this
intensive…and waiting on my roommate who will add a whole new layer and flavor
to life this next round…and I have to say I find it amazingly exhilarating….people
are fun…dealing with people is even more fun….but tossing in language and
culture that I did not usually get to cavort with and I find myself in a
dynamic, flexible classroom at this school…breathing in different jobs and
talents as if I am trying out new recipes and foods.
One thing I have been figuring out: I love everyone. Even
when I get mad or frustrated…I can also feel the love later…when my head clears…I
feel so much appreciation for every single interaction….I have been criticized
in a manner much harsher then my teammates….I was the only one I knew of who
had her speaking voice, (which is calmer and metered)…labeled as condescending
before others jumped in a pointed out that they had not viewed it as such….and
I have somehow survived….I expressed myself in a group presentation without speaking
a word when my voice went after my cold settled in my throat….and I have to say
that I actually enjoyed it in the end….
Both weeks of this intensive daily work have been over the
top….and I do not think they have brought out my best work in any way, shape or
form….but I do not think I have to be perfect to have learned a lot…and I do
not think that I have to be the best when working with a team…I think that this
year at my grad school has taught me to roll with the punches and accept the
idea that doing work means doing the best I can while working with others in any
way I can.
Oddly, I think I have been leaning a lot about myself too….what
I like and what I do not like…what I am great at and what to relax about and
what to get keyed up about as well.
I have earned so much as far as technique and how to
complete big group projects….this has made me so much more ready to work for the
UN or the State Department. This has been extremely productive study time…this
whole year actually qualifies as true learning in that department. I cant wait
to see what I wind up doing with all these new abilities…and I really want to
see what opportunities this will all lead me to in the future….it should be
Older people do not understand how I can confidently go to school "at my age"...
Math is not my strong subject but let's be honest...if you did do the math I am going in an interesting direction.
I am wracking up an alarming amount of student loan debt. College in the UC system in the 70's cost $700. I owe over $27000 for this term in grad school alone...but I would not change a thing. I think it comes down to a pivotal concept that I did not at all understand when I was a teen and convinced we were all going to die in a nuclear disaster in the 80's...There was no point in finishing college or having a savings from that perspective.
Now I am older....I have raised perfect children...lived a perfect marriage and home life...lived in a community that was filled with loving and caring people for decades.
I get that the world is not nearly done...and even if it were...I am now thinking that Mad magazine's Alfred E Newman is closer to my true philosophy, "What? Me worry?"
People who are 50 years old are supposed to, I suppose be locked into jobs and careers and see this as a mad sprint towards that elusive concept of "retirement"....
I know I am older...but I can run when I want....eat what I want....do what I want...when on a whim in Italy my Ex hubby and I decided to walk an enigmatic distance along an old dirt road caressing the shoreline....we had no idea how many miles it translated to....
Hours later we rolled into the next lovely town...it was a beautiful but very long walk that was really worth every moment. I think it was the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza in Italia....mind blowing!.... that there were houses along the old walkway that people lived in...how they got around and dragged groceries to such far removed places was beyond me...
Anyway...I guess the point is.... that I am not planning on retiring at 65 and neither should you. I would barely have time to pay everything back and reach my stride!
But I plan on working and getting as far as a I can with practical hands on knowledge...for years past the 65 year old mark.
In my Economics class the wise professor said that he expects people to live to 150 within my lifetime.
That is when it hit me that I have made the wisest choice.
Ignore that outmoded wisdom and shoot for a degree now when I am older and wiser...I am gearing up for the middle ages of my life...I should be retrained for this middle 50 years. I shouldn't be due for another retraining and late-in-life college stint until I am around 100 if he was close to correct.
I know my debt to income ratio is effecting my ability to rent since my latest $27000 term has now hit my credit lowering my credit rating since I have an abysmal debt to income ratio at the present time.
But I think I am being savvy and clever.
I am getting the new trend clear in my head before it is being written about...before anyone is really suggesting that it might be far more clever to invest in your own college education through the middle zone of our lives...I see it as THE truth...
There should be colleges geared around catering to my age group....there should be loans based around my future income from banks and loan companies...people my age should be counselled to pursue whatever they are drawn to since it is the most practical segment of our lives to be in school...
We should be done with young children by 50....we should be ready to pursue the bigger goals.
I am studying economics this term....I have a class in development and improving people's plight around the world...I have another class taught by an Ex military man who is clearly into the practicality of learning how to problem solve global issues and protect people of all kinds around the world....I am learning in other languages as I always had wanted to do...and politics is still strong in my experience here at grad school.
I don't know what I am going to do with all this fascinating material I am rolling around in my head....but I can guarantee you one thing! This is not a waste of time and I am only just getting started!
Thanks Howard for prompting me to see my direction...
As frantic as my logical right brained studies have been my life is drawn forward always by outrageously far fetched coincidences that I usually don't bother to talk about with anyone...well...my friends back home in Sonora...Ann, Rose, Marcia and Donna were my primary confidants outside of my dear Ex...my kids and my sisters....Anyway...here in this bastion of right brained logical thinking I have not been at all my Reiki Master...psychic self...squishing any acknowledgement of my inner abilities, intuitions and interests...but today I wound up on a different trajectory, and my left brained world collided with my right, creating a much happier version of me by bedtime!
I like to introduce myself as a housewife and mother here, since I feel it is important to make it clear that we mothers and female sorts are just as capable of being feminine and also shining in the masculine world of business and scholarly pursuits...but I never bring up my left brained interests...especially here since I feared it would make me less serious of a scholar and lead to me being less successful.
Even as I write that I see the illogic of such a thought process...I am a success here and now...and respect should be accorded to me because I have not only earned it but I deserve it...yet look at me hiding my feminine intuitive side behind an inferior façade of my own creation. No man or masculine class has subjugated me...I subjugated myself in a wild preemptive strike!
Here in this world of communication and language as well as passionate economics and cross cultural intermingling I should have realized that I owed it to myself to be me.... this is a world where I should have not just allowed myself to let others see glimpses of my inner being but I should have embraced it and let it shine ...how else would others ever see the importance and value of intuition or of femininity to our over all goals of peace and security if I am suppressing it at all costs?!!
Tomorrow I am boldly following my inner guidance and intuition....even as I hope to jump into wider business realms I am now seeing that I cannot get out there in the wider world while suppressing much of who I truly am....time to mix both sides of my brain as well as both my heart and my mind as well!
It isn't 7:00 am yet I have been up for hours working on communicating with loved ones and saturating myself in our subject matter in class! I love studying and putting pieces together in my head....it feels like my studies are really making sense...and now it is showing me how to apply it to what I care about....
I got into school as a reaction to my foreclosure....now I am figuring out how to rewrite the policies that regulate this screwy financial system...I am hatching and formulating ideas that are going to help me see where I fit in later....the idea is to stick with my biggest goal of pulling all of my studies towards wealth building for everyone and poverty alleviation.
I can't help but be excited and delighted to know another full day awaits my focus at school...the idea that I am living the dream really only sinks in during brief moments and at random times....but for now I am definitely bright eyed and bushy tailed!
It is delightful to be pushed to my mental limits and then unwind in the evening.....
There are reasons many of us drink in college...it is nice to unwind after pushing our mind to its mental limit. I am without my youngster and pushing myself pretty intensely in this Economics Bootcamp that I am finding myself in this next ten days. I am thinking really hard and sitting for 6 hours at full alert. I challenge you to do the same at tis kind of intensity.
Tonight and last night I stayed with a friend from the course that I already knew from Policy Analysis. I always knew he was one of the brightest people in the room...he gets what is going on with ease and it helps to know I can trust his take...but let's be honest...everybody here seems to fully grasp what is going on....I even think I do sometimes...but I fade in and out...but here in this situation I am feeling rather confident about my experience...I really like the overall concepts and the way they are presented.
And.....like my classmates I am cramming in work on the side...I am only working as a tour guide but I am doing it on my lunch hour...so I get an hour for lunch and I am sharing my love and passion of this school's offerings for 45 minutes of it...not getting much chance to even eat much less unwind...so the evenings are taking on tremendous importance for me....
I went shopping with my school buddy and he cooked an amazing dinner...fish, broccoli, brown rice and amazing sauces...
The whole thing was bookended by inspiring piano playing by my host while my hostess painted nearby....this adventure reminds me again that I love being with people...hearing their stories and living the experience of following another households rhythm. I am really traveling in Europe while enjoying my roommate experience...even here at home....
After a dazzling dinner and delightful conversation, spiced with wine and intellectual open-mindedness I am relaxing in bed.
My friend is playing the piano in the other room and its sonorous strains seem to caress my ears as the wine warms my nose, dulls my overly stimulated brain and stokes my heart. Wow....I am very lucky indeed!
I am now in the depths of an Economics intensive. I came fully prepared. I read for a full weekend in spite of moving out of less then the best housing...I think I might have gotten it done thanks to having become invincible feeling by moving all of the stuff I had in my house all by myself!! Alone I shimmied a solid wood couch down a flight of stairs and into the back of my car....It took every ounce of my physicality but I somehow pulled it off when everyone I had who could help got pushed out by the landlord moving things up a day...I had been at fault since I made it clear that I would move out earlier in order to make it easier for him to rerent...my town has many people moving in and out of the area thanks to the many schools and military branches represented around town.
But I moved everything alone! Every muscle in my body was achey the next day...but let's be honest...it would have been the same if I had been picking up the same things and moving them alone when I was twenty five...I should be delighted that I am twice that age now...and I could even accomplish it....a little achiness felt more like a badge of honor!!
When I was free for a few days I hightailed it to me Ex's house...I could relax and crash with him without having to think about it....the nice thing about counting your Ex as your best friend is that when you find yourself together, you are suddenly with someone who has known you for years and doesn't need any explanation...
He got it when I just felt like sitting since he also felt like sitting around and watching TV too at the same time....when he was hungry I was hungry....when it was time to finish a chore or errand we both felt like stopping at the same time...it was sort of like finding that my Ex is my Doppler Twin...of course I don't know if he felt as comfortable as I did but it was very nice for me to just pull out my highlighters and have no need to explain that I was about to dive into my study mode and that I would only come up for air when I had finished thinking out a complete series of thoughts.
So amongst the Chaos that is my life at this moment, I completed all of my studies and my chances to just relax and breathe in between school responsibilities...
A serene moment came along when I dragged my dogs to the UC Berkeley campus and I just enjoyed the entire atmosphere..my Ex was back at work, so I was going it alone accept my pups...it felt so good to just park the car, walk for a bit and sit on a rock highlighting my book and studying for my Econ class that had not started yet. It was delightful!
The craziest part was that I was only just settled...I had just systematically placed all 5 colors of highlighters and two very sharpened pencils at my side...I pulled out my now colorful Econ book, when the tower nearby started chiming....it didn't just indulge me a bit...it went wholly into luscious sound mode....chiming out archaic sounding piece after beautiful piece. I timed the never ending enchantment...it went on for 45 minutes!
So if you are ever in need of revival...and you are in the Berkeley area...sneak into the south side of campus and find a lawn area near a statue of "Pappy" something....an old football coach of yesteryear...and sit between 2-3 in the afternoon on a Sunday just listening....it will astound you at its subtlety and length...
When done with studying, I walked around....I talked to people....my dogs sniffed around profusely....little boys dared each other to jump over things as if they had been influenced by parkour like my son....
I was struck with something that seemed to come from deep within me...
It reminded me of when I visited my present school back in 2008....I had always wanted to go there so it was no surprise that I had to go by and visit the campus to help reawaken my dream from the past. And now I am presently going to my dream school. It only took 5 years to get here.
It felt that way at Berkeley though...I had a deep inner sense of wanting to teach or go to UC Berkeley in my future...I don't know why it would be a goal of mine now....it never really has been a goal before...but I had an odd sense of belonging...and I don't think it was all because I have been here many times before...as a child my own father worked near here in a very technical position. My mom walked us girls all over the place around here growing up.
Yet it seemed somehow like the birth of something deeper...a desire is being created I think.
Now I am old enough to know we never get all of our desires....they morph and twist into something more fun than we originally could have foreseen...and oftentimes my desires have started out pulling me in one direction and then dragged me into another based on the pull of the original dream. That is when it does not even appear to be the same dream to the layperson's eyes...but I always seem to recognize how one pulls me into many directions as it unfolds from its original perspective.
Anyway, I know that I am going to wind up doing something that will have been born from that feeling of studying in the quiet, scholastic serenity that I experienced there on campus that day.