Growing Up is Hard To Do

Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t,

Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m so sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you.

You can get all hung up

in a prickle-y perch.

And your gang will fly on.

You’ll be left in a lurch.

-Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Forget breaking up, it’s the growing up that’s really hard to do. Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this? People speak of graduation being the beginning of “the rest of my life.” Well, to steal sentiments from my own graduation speech, what the heck have I been doing for the last 23 years? It may be the start of a new chapter in my life, but it certainly doesn’t come with a manual like everyone promised. And this whole making decisions thing? Yeah, well, it should only be done with serious supervision and a seat belt. Puh-lease! I can barely decide what I want to wear in the morning, and who sees me? A two year old! How in tarnation am I supposed to make “major life choices” that could (read: definitely will) set me on a path toward my elusive future?

This all probably sounds a little drama. It is. I will be the first to admit it. I sat on my high horse last year at this time, thanking my lucky stars that I was not one of the millions of people looking for a job in an economy that looked about as pleasant as a jug of sour milk. I thought, I’m so glad that’s not me. Cut to one calender year later when I have to figure out what comes after this year of adventure and general slacking off. So far I’ve made one major step in my walk toward What I Want to Be When I Grow Up. I’ve scheduled myself to take the GRE in Geneva in November. Yes, I’m not going to go into teaching after all. At least not yet. Oddly enough, in fact, I want to go back to being a student.

What to do with these test scores, you ask? A mighty fine question indeed! I don’t know. I’ve begun the painful (literally, my eyeballs were starting to twitch and burn from looking at my computer screen this morning) search for a school. How does one decide? There are so many considerations, one can’t help but feel battered by them. Are you my school? Are you my school? I feel like that little bird, hopping around, hoping someone will claim me. The process is ridiculous. It’s hard to be removed from the school scene, not to mention the country. I wish I would have begun this process whilst still in college. But hindsight is 20/20. At this point all I can do is throw on my suit of armor and head into the fight. You want my transcript(s)? Fine. Letters of recommendation? OK, then. A writing sample (or two)? Well, I’ll see what I can do. $50. Now you’re just getting greedy.

I’m trying to take baby steps. There’s no sense in trying to tackle it all at once. Today I was just feeling hypersensitive. At one point I yelled at Little Bean for crying because her food was too hot. I was the one who put it in the microwave! It was completely my fault. What is my malfunction?

Tonight the kiddos asked for a story before bed and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was the book Taz chose. The little guy can’t even read English, yet this was the old piece of wisdom his paws landed on. I kid you not, when I got to the middle about times getting tough, I actually started crying. Right there on the sofa, little tears just cruising down my face. I pulled it together to finish the story and send them to bed. I think what hit me was this: Yes, this is tough. It’s hard work, but it’s meant to be that way. If it was easy, then would it really be worth it? Isn’t all the hard stuff at the beginning part of the reward at the end?

But on you will go

though the weather be foul.

On you will go

though your enemies prowl.

On you will go

though the Hakken-Kraks howl.

Onward up many

a frightening creek,

though your arms may get sore

and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike.

And I know you’ll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,

as you already know.

You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life’s

a Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed?

Yes! Yes, you will indeed!

(98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed.)