When I was in college, long before desktop computers, the Internet, e-books and Pinterest, I would receive in the mail the college catalog for the next fall semester. I spent hours poring over all the entries, hundreds of classes in different departments, literally from Art to Zoology. I actually took a Zoology course to satisfy my science requirement and rapidly learned that I don’t do well in lab classes at 8 a.m.! Or ever, for that matter.
Reading about the different courses that were available, I imagined the life that I would lead, if I took courses in Art History or Philosophy or Creative Writing or Dance. The options were endless. Then I would come back down to earth and start looking at classes in my major, Speech Communications. After all, I needed to concentrate on one area, one path to a career — that would be my life, my financial future.
Don’t get me wrong! I loved my speech classes and the life I have using the ideas and skills that I learned so long ago. I have gone back to school occasionally over the years, always taking classes to further my career, not to explore new avenues. And I was always sad about the road not taken (credit: Robert Frost).
Now I am nearing retirement and it occurs to me, when I see courses advertised online, or on the signboard outside Golden West College, that now is my chance. My son is grown and long on his own. I don’t need to work 80 hours a week anymore. I can actually create free time, if I so choose. Maybe now is the time to choose to go to school — for me, not for a degree with which to earn my living, but to enjoy learning something new, simply for the sake of learning. What a concept!
I am going to make time to go online and look up the college catalogs for classes at the local schools, or even online, and create my new path. This path is for me, for now, for personal fulfillment. And I encourage you to not wait so long, to carve out a few hours every so often, to explore new ideas and possibilities. And leave no roads untaken.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about your road taken!
Sandra Rodriguez is a Southern California-based professional life coach. With her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Interpersonal Communication, Mediation Certificate from the Los Angeles Bar Association and Professional Coach Certificate from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), Sandra’s many roles as manager, teacher, and human resources administrator have given her a wide spectrum of high-level skills to complement decades of practical experience in a variety of professional and academic settings. Areas of expertise include interpersonal communication, coaching, teaching, public speaking, human resources, negotiation, mediation, and business and manufacturing operations.