As well as you know for the past couple of months I have been mainly posting about projects and chili. I wanted to do an off topic post this time to show some of the newer readers I also have a life outside of working and competitive cooking.
Let me explain, my personality will not let me leave something unfinished. If it's a project, a goal or a promise. No matter what it is, I have to be able to close the book on whatever it is I started. If not, it will haunt me until it is done.
Twenty one years ago I was standing in city hall of the town I was working at. I had just completed a repair of a water leak and was a little dirty, but I was summon to meet my supervisor and had to go. I was standing along the wall outside his office waiting for my turn when the City's engineer walked out. He paused, looked me up and down, then asked my boss why they let the dirt people in here. He then turned and as he walked away he looked back over his shoulder and told me to get an education.
That next semester I enrolled in College just out of spite for his kind.
Being a husband, having two jobs and going to school was tough. For over two years I slept less then two hours a night. My primary job was from 7 AM to 5 PM, school was from 6 PM to 1 PM and my second job was from 1 AM to 6 AM seven days a week. Some say you can go insane if you don't get at least four hours of sleep for any length of time. Maybe that is what's wrong me? I remember the wife nudging me to wake me up when I would fall asleep at red lights when it turned green. I looked for every possible second to get some shut eye.
The wife and I started having babies soon after and all that I had going plus being a young father was too much. My priorities were drawn in the sand so I quit college and my second job to do what I needed to do and be there for them. No regrets, it was all my choice.
I have pushed and guided my three girls from the time they came home with us from the hospital to be something I chose not be. I would sit and talk to them while they slept in their crib and tell them they will be somebody some day and that they would make a difference. I would talk about higher education while driving them to kindergarten class and even after all these years, the talks still continue. My friends would ask me what I would do if they chose not to go and I would always respond with "That is not an option" and it is still not.
All these years I have preached the importance of a getting a degree of some sorts to my children and here I sat a college drop out. How hypocritical is that? It's not that I made a mistake and it's not that I would change anything, it's about trying to get your kids to do better then you, go further in life and not have to struggle as much. I think that is same with almost every parent. Yes, it is their decision once they are of age, but how in the world can I look at myself in the mirror every morning knowing I did not try.
I was 18 years old sitting on the couch with my soon to be wife when I told my parents we were getting married. The only thing my dad said was that he had higher hopes for me. I never really got that until later on in life. Now I fully understand.
Going back to the beginning of this post, after 21 years, January 14th I will be starting college again. It is not in the same degree I was in, but it's still a degree. I am not doing it for any reason other than for me. I made a promise to myself twenty one years ago that I was going to be a college graduate. That promise has haunted me for way too long and it is time to dust off that old book, add another chapter and then finally close it.
It may take me five years to complete it, but in the end I will be able to hold to that stupid little piece of paper and say I did it.