Climbing first, and then writing

This morning I was informed that I have been accepted to the Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing Program at Southern New Hampshire University.  I promptly called my Admissions Counselor and paid my tuition for the single three-credit class that I will be taking per term, which came to the sum of $1881.00 for the term beginning on 22 Jun 2020 so that I could get registered for the class that I need.  The orientation class will need to be completed prior to the beginning of the term, however the actual course that I will be taking is ENG-510, Studying the Craft.  It is an introduction to creative writing and the first four classes are listed for me in the order that it is suggested I take them in.  That sounds reasonable.  If I was a full-time student taking two online classes per term, then I would have those first four classes knocked out in two terms, but I am going to stick with being a part-time student taking one online class per 10-week term as not to overwhelm myself.  Life for me can be difficult, and there is not a lot I can do about my limited funds right now, so there is no need to push it.  I am doing this for myself.  I am not doing this to prove anything to anyone, that is for sure!  I have not even told my husband yet because he will wonder why I am not working on a doctorate in psychology instead.  I do not see the value of it.  Let us face it.  I am never going to have a traditional job.  I am not a traditional person and I do not have a traditional life (whatever that might be).  I am non-traditional in every way and I need to work with some of my more flexible talents in a flexible program, and SNHU fits the bill as far as the meeting of creative writing and a flexibly-structured program goes.  I know that people want me to be “more” than “just a writer”, but I enjoy writing.  I enjoy climbing, too, but the chances of me becoming a professional, sponsored rock climber just are not in the cards, so as far as doing something “more” on the side, I do not think that writing is a bad thing.  Yes, I know that there are many homeless, starving artists, writers, and photographers on the streets.  My situation is such that I am not going to end up one of them.  I can climb, I can write, and I can hone my imagination.  What better stress relief to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with Depression and Anxiety than that?  I have come to realize during this pandemic that I need to have a solid back-up plan to climbing when I cannot climb, as has been the case for the last month of my sheltered-in-place life.  I have been writing.  I am unskilled in the “craft” as they say, but I have written plenty of academic papers and researched thousands of topics over my previous educational years, so I feel fairly confident that, in times of pandemic or other natural disaster, I can make it as a writer of some sort!  I am preparing now for the inevitable.  I do not see the world getting simpler.  I see the world getting more complex and more difficult to make it in.  I see the future as a time when I will need to have honed every skill I possess to survive, including survival.  So I will get the training now, while it is available and I have the means and the time and the circumstances that allow it.  I think that to be a wise decision.  You may think that I should go for that doctorate, but what would I do with it?  All it would gain me would be a little bit more experience in psychology and the title of “Doctor” before my last name, with some letters tagged on after it.  It may be difficult to understand, but I need to explore creative writing to see if it is “me” or not.  If it is not, then I can cut my losses and move on.  If it is, though, I will have found an activity that I can both work and play at regardless of the weather, the state of the world around me, or the politics of the nation at any given time.  My glass is half full, but only half full.  The world is not getting easier to navigate, and I am not getting any younger.  Skills that will always be in demand include good writing — skilled writing — and that is what I intend to develop further in myself.  As for being homeless and starving, that can happen to anyone at any time.  It does not matter what your profession, fancy, or hobby is.  Life is unpredictable.  Unexpected things happen.  You could be the best at your high-paying job and get fired for nothing more than a minor infraction if someone wants your job and has the right connections.  You could be a successful physician and get sued for malpractice over something routine and the courts could rule against you because the judge did not get his coffee that morning.  You could lose your house to a fire, your car to an accident, your health to an incurable disease.  Life is fragile and we have to live it while we have it, which is right now.  Am I searching for myself?  Yes.  Will I eventually find myself?  Perhaps.  I do not think that any one person is a single “thing”, though.  For example, sometimes a person pursues the wrong calling and remains stuck in that profession for their entire lives because they are either too proud or too scared to try something different or to give up the prestige.  I am not one of those people.  My prestige was taken from me long ago, and in some ways, I am glad that I have been taught to be humble.  It makes life a lot easier.

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