Do I have the courage to start over?

September 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

I’m in this really weird place right now where I don’t want to let go of the past but I don’t want to move forward. I really loved my old future. I worked really hard and was rewarded with a wonderful husband, a lovely home, and a job I enjoyed. I was just about to have the added reward of two lovely children to call me Mom. My future looked amazing and I was really excited to have such a great life. I was going to grow old with Paul, and the two of us were going to play with our grandchildren one day…

Now I look at my future and I’m so very afraid of it. I’m afraid to start over. I don’t know if I have the energy to start over. But I can’t have the life I had just a few short months ago. That future was taken from me when my Paul died. I don’t get to grow old with someone now and I don’t get to watch my own children grow up, let alone play with grandchildren. I still have my house, but as we purchased it as a family home, it doesn’t have the same excitement to me anymore. I still have my job, but no one to share the benefits of the comfortable income with.

I don’t want the life I have now. I don’t want to live where I do knowing that my nearest family is a four-hour drive away, and that my heart is nearly 6,000 miles away. Paul and I were very happy here, but we always knew it was a temporary home until we were ready for the next phase of our lives—a phase we hoped would see us returning to Scotland. (Or to some other great place, as we always said as long as we were together it didn’t matter where we were.)

As I think about what I do want, I have mixed feelings.

I have been thinking about going to graduate school. I was meant to start part-time this year but that was part of a larger plan that included a family. I was happy to take my time completing my educational goals when my other, more important, life goals were so clearly in focus. Now, I don’t want to wait. I don’t want the stress of studying and a full-time job when I don’t have a husband and children at home to cheer me on. And so, I’m starting to think about returning to Scotland where I can focus on my studies full-time, with maybe a part-time retail job to help pay the bills. It’s the place where I’ve always wanted to be; a place Paul and I spoke about returning to often.

I want to get a postgraduate degree. I wanted to do it before I finished my undergraduate degree, but meeting Paul caused me to shift my plans—without regret. Now, I’m afraid to jump into something so big. Not because I don’t want the degree; not because I don’t think I can handle the hard work. I’m afraid because I don’t know how to start over. Right now, I have a lovely house and a comfortable income. If I go to school full-time I have to give up both. I have to give up the last remains of my once-perfect life—moving forward with only the memories of what once was, and what I’d hoped would be.

Can I really take such a big step back? Can I really go from living such a comfortable life to living the life of a student in a dingy bedsit wondering if I have enough money left for food? I think that I would have a better support network in the UK than I do here; but what happens if I find out that it’s no better than the nearly-nonexistent support network I have here, and once again I find myself alone and with no one to turn to when I just need a friend?

I know that if I decide to go back to school, Paul will be there cheering me on as he always did in the past. But I suppose that I am just so afraid of losing the last of my life by taking such a big leap. I remember well the struggles of my undergraduate years, but as I was barely scraping by before going to school I knew my life could only improve. Now, I fear that I may decide to take on the financial and emotional burden of school again not knowing if I’ll come out ahead.

And all of these fears and neurotic questions going around in my head are why I’m not deciding anything today. I have time to do that later. In the mean time, I suppose that I should feel blessed to have the lovely house and comfortable income at a time when I’ve lost everything else.

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Entry filed under: General.

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