As a bartender, it is my job to look at people and decide if I put them in the "definitely legal" , "questionable" or "underage" category. The latter two always require an I.D. check. Walking across campus today at my first day back at school, I couldn't help but eyeball every student I passed. Almost every single one fell into my "underage" category, and would have been met with high scrutiny with my fake-ID 6th sense. Did I have such a baby face when I was an incoming freshman? I wondered if I were to walk into a bar today, how many of these kids would ask for my I.D. ? Do they know that I am up to ten years their senior? That instead of counting down the minutes to happy hour, I'm counting down the minutes to fetch my precious baby boys from the babysitters house? Do they care? No, of course not. Do I care that they know? Not really. Except for the fact that I sometimes want to scream "quit f'ing around and get out of my way, I'm here to do work and I've got a serious mission ahead of me..." (that competitive monster doesn't shut up, haha)
There are days when I am kicking myself for not having a college degree almost ten years after I started college. It certainly might have made life a little easier, to have had a career path under my feet and some sort of stability for my family. Of course, I wouldn't trade my family right now for the world, and I wouldn't be here right now if I hadn't made the decisions I made, good or bad, in my life. But I have to admit , it was a bit of a shocker today, when my statistics teacher, who certainly can't be much older than me, introduced himself as "Doctor". Seriously? You? A PhD? Wow. Instantly my competitive side was saying "jeeze Heather, you slacker"
But it is what it is. And while life doesn't always work out the way you planned it to, I do believe everything happens for a reason. Because now I am in a different mindset in school, and I'm very thankful for it. I have goals. I don't have time to mess around. Or drink a case of bud light. (or in our case back in the day, really cheap vodka and powerade)
My History to 1500 class, which I imagined would be a breeze, has scared the poo out of me. Upon calling my sister, who took the class last semester, my fears were confirmed. The professor even spent the entire first class period giving details of how she teaches, and offering up a "leave now if you don't think you can handle it" speech. Yeouch. I'm not going to lie, there was a part of me that wanted (still wants) to say "NO THANKS!! I'll go find that easy professor who gives exams straight out of the book...". But it's a required class, it fits in my schedule, and it just needs to be done.
Frankly, if I've learned one thing over the last 27 years of my life, it's this: Yes, you can succeed in life by just "getting by". Doing the least amount of work to accomplish what needs to be done. But there is something so incredibly rewarding about working HARD for what you want, and succeeding.
When I walked into school in the fall of 2007 on academic probation with a ridiculous GPA, and walked out four months later on the Presidents list (straight A's), I felt flipping awesome.
I ran my first two marathons on the absolute minimum training. Probably less than minimum, actually. I finished. I have the medals. Whatever. But I just slid by. I don't feel like I accomplished anything spectacular. This summer, I have started pushing myself with my running. Harder and harder. Slowly working my way up to being as committed as I want to be to my running. It's been hard staying focused on the marathon training plan, but I'm getting there. Yesterday, I went for a quick run (3.8 miles) while Rich was home to watch the boys. It was hot and my legs felt heavy, but every minute that went by, I started feeling stronger and stronger. I had negative splits, and I felt like I could have run all day long. All this hard work, it's been paying off. And it's going to feel freaking awesome when I cross the finish line of the Baltimore marathon in October with a P.R.
And so once again, I tie this all together relating my "real world" with my running world: This semester scares me to death. Two babies, a house full of chores, bills, work, and 10 out of 14 of my credits being classes I'd really, really rather not take. There are going to be days when it totally sucks. Just like there are days when getting out of your warm comfy bed at 5:00 am to go for a long run totally sucks. There are days when it feels like graduating college is a further reach than qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. But I will do it. I will bust my ass and I will do it well, even on the days I really don't want to crawl out of bed .
And it will be sooooo worth it whenever I get to cross that finish line graduate.