Sunrise by Georgia O'Keeffe
I’m going back to school. Fact. Not a What if… situation. I’m going back to school today. Last Friday was my last day of delivering education and today will be my first day of receiving it once again. When was the last time I was a student? It seems like ages ago. And it’s taken me forever to make the decision to go back. But I’ve made it!
You see, there was that feeling. Do you know it? That nagging feeling that compels you, every morning, as you’re driving in to work, to ask yourself: What the hell am I doing? And why? And when will I have the guts to stop doing this and start doing what I really want to do? And when you find yourself stumped… not for answers… but for the courage to take the plunge… day after week after month after year… while the tears are sitting in your gut like a bag of heavy, undigested bones getting moister and expanding with every passing moment and threatening to make your gut explode… when you’re getting ready to make that last left turn at that last traffic light before arriving at the place where you work and you find yourself wanting to make a U-turn and go back home… when this happens… you have to give yourself pause, and allow yourself this thought: What if…?
For the longest time, I felt like a clock that had stopped ticking. And I watched the sun rise over my neighbors’ rooftops every morning while fantasizing about what lay beyond my safe and predictable world. But I never allowed my eyes to see because, What if I see and like? I was living an easy life knowing my fixed future and dreaming of taking risky leaps but never actually taking them because… I was afraid. And still, I am afraid. Because, the other side of: What if I take this giant leap and land in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? is: What if I take this giant leap and fall and break my leg? But, what I fear more than falling is stagnating… and becoming cranky… and hateful… and resentful with the passing of time. I fear, more than anything in this beautiful life, being on my deathbed, and feeling regret that I didn’t allow myself the chance.
This is a world of sudden opportunities. And if you are too shy or hesitant or afraid to grab your opportunity when you see it… well, then. If you don’t open the door for fresh air, you become fossilized. If you keep trying to fill cracked glasses with water, they never become full. Exercises in futility become intimate territory. So I gave myself pause. And I allowed myself the thought: What if…? And I opened the door for fresh air, but a gale swept in and wrapped itself around me and would not go, even as I voluntarily tried to dismiss it.
And so, afraid or not, it’s time for me to sit on the receiving end of education, once more. And for the coming measure of time, I will be reading psychology journals and texts and tomes… and conducting research… and compiling and interpreting data… and analyzing and applying statistics… and working with clients… and pulling my hair… and writing papers until I drop… and writing… and defending… a dissertation. But, oh, what glorious joy bubbles inside my heart at the thought of it all! Because… I love science. And I worship the human mind. And at the end of the process, I will have my Ph.D.
I owe it to myself to do what I really want to do with my life. I owe it to myself to no longer be oblivious to my true calling. I owe it to myself to be as happy as I can be.
And I am smiling, with lips and heart and eyes. I am beaming from the soul out. Full smiles. Full beams. Without a hint of vacancy.
I’m off to my very first day of school. I’m off to the last leg of my journey towards becoming… Dr. Nevine Sultan.
And now that it’s out there…
Here’s to putting it down without fear or hesitation.
Here’s to making the affirmation and the declaration.
Here’s to opening the door wide to who I want to be.
Come in, storm, and sweep me away!