"The happiest miser on earth is the man who saves up every friend he can make."
Robert E. Sherwood
One year ago this week was I was busy completing finishing touches preparing for my new adventure graduate school in Savannah. Last summer I was consumed with cleaning our home, sorting through old papers, mending, washing and packing clothing. Not wanting to make duplicate purchases of things I already owned I carefully decided which art supplies, books, chemicals and equipment for dying fabric would be needed in my new studio apartment.
Throughout the month of August appointments to get my teeth cleaned, annual mammogram, dermatologist skin check, and primary care doctor had to be completed because our medical insurance did not cover me while I lived in Savannah.
Maybe it was from living as a young child with the consciousness that my mother was could die at anytime I had learned my own way to measure happiness. I have never measured my success in dollar amounts, titles or degrees. Armed with the philosophy I only get to spend time and money once, choose wisely,Happiness consists of being with people I love and people who love me.
Leaving the students and the place that had been my home for the past six year dragged up grief that was unexpected. For three years, 1992 - 1995, I was the Primary Caretaker of our parents. Although dad was ten years older than our mother they died just seven months apart. My brothers both lived out of town so the day to day responsibility to take them to the doctors, shop then cook nutritious meals, clean out then sell their home of 43 years occupied my life. Being out of my social group for three years as a caretaker left me alone after the funerals. My old friends had moved on with their lives. Being open for adventure I was excited for change when my husband was offered a promotion if we moved to Western NY.
By this time I had become rather adept to seeing my life poured into a blender, push liquefy button on high, pour out content in altered state to create a new life. Recreating a new life has become part of my existence. As one door closes I look for light from an open window. People are in our lives for a reason, a season or forever. Who is still connected when the winds of change begin to blow again? What did I learn during my previous life experience? What do I have left? Where can I take this new knowledge to a new place to grow?
My teaching position, even if I was only Adjunct Instructor, provided a purpose that kept me so busy I could push the pain of not having an extended family out of my conscious thoughts. I was so dedicated to the progress, success and future of my students, many colleagues thought I held a full time position and an MFA already. Often I spent evenings, weekends or stayed after class on my personal time to work with students that needed extra help.
Applying for graduate school to advance my own education in hopes of being more than an Adjunct was the next logical step. Since I was by choice a full time, cookie baking, stay at home mom for twenty-two years going back to college to earn my bachelors degree magna cum laude was a huge accomplishment. Successfully teaching college students who had no clue of the class projects at the beginning of the semester then enjoyed weaving, dying fabric and using correct vocabulary to speak about their work during critiques brought me to tears of joy as they left at the end of the semester. How blessed could I be?
Not only to have had the joy of raising Barry and Kara into successful adults, I also had the privilege to share my knowledge with college students getting paid for doing what I loved. Do what you love and the money will follow is my belief. My next goal was to earn my MFA credentials so I could apply for a full time position where I could earn enough money to support myself. The next questions was, where should I go from here?