Next week I’m starting my first class on this whole journey to become an osteoarchaeologist: Anatomy and Physiology I. I’m taking the class entirely online through South Texas College. That’s also the week that I leave for field school and we’re going to be in Camp Wood and Barksdale, Texas where WiFi and internet access are limited. My cell phone carrier doesn’t have coverage in that area (other companies do). I emailed the professor to let her know that I’ll be limited to the libraries and she responded that I should start reading the first chapter NOW and that I pretty much have to be online every day due to labs, tests, and quizzes.
I’m in the process of making alternative arrangements, which will probably involve borrowing an unlocked phone from my father-in-law, buying a SIM card, and tethering the whole damn thing to my tablet. Whee!
I’ve been so busy with the end of the school year, getting ready to volunteer at TARL, and prepping for field school that I haven’t had much time to contemplate that next week really does begin a new chapter in my life and not just in my anatomy book. Last night I had a panicky moment where I went, “WHAT AM I DOING? THIS IS NUTS! I AM TOO OLD TO CHANGE CAREERS.” Hello! Mr. Self-doubt came a-knocking on my door. Was I going to let him in or send him packing?
Fortunately, I’ve been here before. This is not the first time I’ve done something completely insane and bananas that made me doubt myself. Stepping back onto the stage after a 13 year hiatus when I was told by the head of my college program that I’d never work in the theater was a bit bonkers. I went on to produce the US premiere of a musical (something I am exceedingly proud of!). Getting a job as a high school reading teacher was extremely difficult (those jobs are few and far between). I found one. Traveling Europe alone with a 7 year old was nuts. I did it and had a good time, even though I was ridiculously sick with a diseased gall bladder at the time.
Mr. Self-doubt can shove off because I don’t need his kind around. I’ve proven that he’s not welcome in my life and I sent his butt packing.
I also considered the alternatives. I asked myself, “If I quit now, would I really be happy spending another 25 years in the classroom?” From the bottom of my heart, the answer was a resounding “NO!” My heart knows that this path is the correct one. I realized just how far I’ve come in confidence in the last several years. It’s taken me 40 years to come this far, but here I am!
I know this journey will be hard. I will be tested in so many more ways than just academically. There will be times when Mr. Self-doubt comes knocking on the door again. Maybe sometimes he’ll bang loudly and insist that I let him in. I won’t. I can’t. I don’t have time for him and I won’t listen to that jerk anymore.
I’ve turned the page on that chapter of my life, a chapter full of questioning, second-guessing myself, and listening to Mr. Self-doubt. This new chapter, the one that I am just beginning to write, will be stuffed with adventures and discoveries.
I can’t wait to get started. Three more days to go!