Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Castles in the Air

One of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau talks about castles in the air.  I love it.  I can identify with it.  It seems to describe my life.  Part of it is as follows:
     "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them."

I have spent my life as a dreamer.  As a child I always imagined what I could do; as a youth I spent more time within the safety of my imagination than in the starkness of reality.  As an adult, I think I woke up to the demands of real life; well, kind of.  I have taken my responsibilities seriously and tried to accomplish the things that were asked of me.  But I have always held onto dreams.  I have always imagined what could be.  I fear, though, it has often been without setting the goals necessary to achieve them.

I used to envision myself in cap and gown, surrounded by my family overflowing with pride in their mother.  I never graduated from college.  I chose to work full time to enable my husband to complete his degree.  I don't regret that decision.  It gave us full health insurance benefits to start a family, and the security of beginning our lives without student loans.

Several years back I decided to chase this castle in the air and I went back to school.  I loved it.  I have always loved learning.  That is the real joy of school for me.  I took several classes for a couple of semesters.  When it came time to register for the upcoming semester, I somehow didn't feel like it was the right choice.  I didn't know why.  I just didn't. I received my answer a short time later.  I received a phone call from the Stake President.  He asked what I had going on in my life.  I explained that my days were mostly free as my children were all in school then.  What was I thinking?!  He then extended a request for me to teach full time seminary at one of the local high schools.

It took me years to return to the goal of a college degree.  When I did, I found that my credits were too "old" to account for anything, and that I would have to start from scratch.  Somehow that didn't appeal to me.  So I decided to become as self-educated as I could.  I love to travel, so I have accompanied travel with learning as much as I can about the places I wish to go.  I have begun watching lectures by college professors on DVD.  I have not been afraid to try my hand at new skills.  All of these things are putting the foundation underneath the dream of being well-educated.  The dream may have received a little tweaking, but it is becoming a reality.


Kim said...

You are a very well-rounded woman ~ sometimes dreams do require some tweaking, but doesn't that also give you the opportunity to tweak them to something even more than you imagined?

I, myself, gave up the dream of being an actress when I discovered I had the acting abilities of a piece of wood. Haha! But, I can sing in the chorus of quite a few musicals and I don't have to memorize any lines....and a good harmony gives me goosebumps!

Erica said...

Mom, even though you don't have a college degree, growing up I still was confident that you knew everything. Never did I, nor do I hesitate to ask you anything about anything. Especially general knowledge questions, and english .

I think it's great that you are continuing your education at home. We're so lucky to be living in a world where there are innumerable resources at our fingertips we can learn from.

Good luck in your continuing education! I love you!

Missus Wookie said...

Ardith - I'm at a similar point with my children starting to move on and wondering if I should start back at school. Hesitating as I'm not sure why I want to go at the moment. Admiring the ones I know who are doing that.

Have you been using Teaching Company dvds? We like them a lot!

Ardith Haws said...

I am using the Teaching Company. I have really enjoyed it. I have focussed mostly on literature, but plan to branch out toward art next.