Every month (or quarter? not sure) I get my college's alumni magazine. I went to Williams College, which has more than its fair share of alums with impressive jobs, inspirational lives, etc. I always feel an odd twinge of something when I see it in the mailbox, and put off actually opening it until I have enough quiet time to deal with the feelings of inadequacy that come with seeing how people with the same college experience as I have done such important, "successful" things with their lives. Don't get me wrong, I really like my life, especially now that I have Andra. Yet, there's always the what ifs...(Shel Silverstein wrote a great poem about the Whatifs, I found it again here.)
What if I hadn't dropped out of grad school the first time?
What if I'd gone to law school, or vet school, instead of teaching school (ha, that sounds so lame)?
What if I hadn't taken this particular job in Connecticut?
What if I'd studied abroad in college?
What if...on and on and on....
At any rate, some days I play this game a lot. Sitting at Starbucks grading last weekend, I looked around at the clientele. I got to thinking along the lines of, what if I'd married that guy in loafers and a polo shirt with his collar turned up, probably someone in finance who comes from old money...would I then be like his wife, clearly more concerned with fashion and ordering the right coffee drink that with what is going on in the world? What if I'd gotten in with her kind of crowd (arguably hard NOT to do in this area), would I, too, care about my shoes and sweaters and give up my preferred jeans and fleece look? (Despite what that might sound like, I wasn't thinking mean thoughts about these people...it was just what if (and a nice distraction from grading)).
I guess it makes me just wonder if I'm doing enough. Sometimes I feel pretty uninspired, uninspiring on some important level. Probably something everyone feels! Even those whom I would consider the inspiring ones.
To resolve some of those issues, I've decided to "go back to college." I looked online at Williams' course catalog, hoping to find a course I wanted to take, with a plan of emailing the professor for the syllabus and reading list and just pretending I had all these assignments. I got a bit overwhelmed with the reality of that though, and opted instead to start reading some non-fiction books I'd forgotten I wanted to read. I'm almost done with my first, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. At the very least, I want to start THINKING again.