Saturday, July 28, 2012

Life moves on...

I had started writing the series of how I got to where I am.  Most recently, I was writing about my first semester as a cooperative education student (aka, "co-op").

This was actually my third time I was largely on my own.  The first was the summer I spent with my Aunt & Uncle in Florida, when most of my days were spent babysitting my 3-year-old cousin.  The second was the summer I spent with a different Aunt & Uncle in California, a combination of house-sitting and tutoring a neighbor boy.  That summer, I did have a lot of days to myself in an empty house.

I believe I mentioned that I had a roommate that spring, and we did a few things together.  Most of the co-ops were in the same apartment complex, so we had socials, went out to places together.  But I also had a lot of time to myself.

Truth be told, I like some of that.  If you've ever heard of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), that semester was about the third time I was "typed," and the third time I was listed as an introvert.  Reading, writing, studying up on my own interests, time to myself, those were fine by me.

Of course, things changed as I went through college.  The next time I took the MBTI, as a senior, my results were very nearly the opposite of what I had been.  Confirmed Extrovert, now.

The thing about being away from people, is that life doesn't stay the same.  It moves on without you.

I got two of those dramatic phone calls, both from my parents, that semester.

One was about our youngest brother.  His daycare had taken them to the swimming pool.  He wouldn't listen, ran ahead, and jumped into the water.   They saw it, got him up fairly quick, and in a short while he checked out okay, but it was a scare.

The other call came on Easter morning.  Apparently, somebody decided to drive-by shoot up the next door neighbor's house.  Fortunately, my family came through with a broken window and possibly a broken computer monitor.  But it was another vivid reminder of how much life at "home" had changed.

As if a place I lived in for 8 + 3 months could be home.

I don't have a lot more to say about it.  I wasn't there in person... scary things happen...

It's hard to study when you're always worried about what's happening to other people.  As the oldest child, I have this overdeveloped sense of responsibility.  For the longest time, I had to take care of my younger brothers & sister.

It took some time to realize that I needed to focus first on taking care of myself, get myself into a position where I could help others again.  Like the airline instruction: "Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others."  My undergraduate degree was KEY to accomplishing this.
(Whether my graduate degree(s) will help has yet to be determined.)