Wednesday, November 2, 2016
What Will You Be Doing In Two Years?
True story: many years back I saw a news story about a woman in her sixties graduating from a college. My first thought? “You can do that??” Up until then I had thought of college as a young person’s venue only.
At that time I thought that I couldn’t afford to go back to school. It was in my “someday” list, along with the nice house and vacations in the Caribbean. Of course, it’s a little more difficult to get the nice house and vacations in the Caribbean without a college degree. So I waited for something to change, though I didn’t know what that would be.
What changed was something that is too common, especially among women. I got a divorce. Suddenly I was a single mom with almost no income and no degree. It was an event I wasn’t prepared for at all, and the first couple of years consisted of trying desperately not to find ourselves living in a box somewhere. Have you seen the cost of housing lately? In the short time between my being single and my becoming a single mom, prices in Nashville have skyrocketed. I looked up my former apartment to find that the rent had increased by 200%.
My point is that I was not prepared. We try to prepare for disasters by getting insurance and learning basic safety. We learn where the fire extinguisher is and to stop, drop, and roll. There’s no insurance for the event of divorce, and suddenly the privilege of stay-at-home-mom status becomes a severe liability.
An old proverb says “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” I realized that my whole life was going to consist of trying to keep us off the streets unless I took the plunge and got a degree.
Like me, a lot of adults wait until they’re desperate. You don’t have to. In a couple of years you could be walking across the stage to get your degree, excitingly preparing to transfer to a four-year university or anticipating new opportunities that could come with an associate’s degree. Plant your tree now.
Gaynell Buffinet Payne
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