We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"What do we live for...

...if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
(George Eliot)

Thirteen reasons why I am thankful to be withdrawing from the College of Law.

1 - I have chronic IBS. Ever since I was 16, I have felt stress as a large cold rock just under my ribs. For many many many years it made me physically ill. I would put food into my mouth and chew, but that 'rock' would choke me when I tried to swallow. I would get stomach cramps so bad that I would end up in hospital. There was never any actual problem. It was just my body's way of (not) coping with stress. No matter how much I tried to fight it mentally, my body would collapse underneath me. When I became pregnant, the rock magically melted. I have not felt its presence since Wombat arrived in my life. Until recently. About three weeks ago, the rock was back, bigger and colder than ever, getting worse every time I thought about my exams and the expensive prospect of dragging Yeti and Wombat into town for two weeks. The moment Yeti asked me to justify why I was continuing with this course, the rock started to shrink. When, after much soul searching, I made the decision to withdraw, the rock was suddenly no longer there.

2 - I want to be a whole-hearted mother, not a half-hearted law student.

3 - I never wanted to be a solicitor. After I finished this course, I was supposedly going to read for the Bar and become a barrister, and then I would have to establish myself in a practice - this entailed actually moving to town for several years, and would be a lifestyle totally incompatible with becoming pregnant again, or providing a healthy lifestyle for my family.

4 - Whenever I thought seriously about this vision of my future, I started to cry.

5 - I felt trapped by the decisions I had made, so I kept forcing my nose to the grindstone and trying not to think about it, at the same time drifting into procrastination as a way of escape, like a rat scrabbling around the blind alleys of a maze.

6 - We want to have at least two more children - and in a month's time I will be 34. I don't want to wait until I am over 40 before Wombat has siblings! (it is worse in Yeti's case, as he is 20 years older than I!)

7 - I want to write. I have four unfinished manuscripts - some fiction, some non-fiction - which I have been unable to work on while studying. All have good prospects of publication, if I can just get them finished.

8 - I get an average of 20 visitors a day to my home website, mainly coming to read my university essays. I want to tap this resource. I plan to finish updating the site, making only an excerpt from each essay available for free, and charging a small fee for access to the whole paper.

9 - I am a specialist. I am good at tunnelling down into a topic, finding out the minutiae, covering the field and consolidating my research into a very readable exploration of a problem. The College of Law course requires me to be a generalist. My notes are constantly too detailed - I can't seem to just skim the surface, no matter how I try. Then, every time I get comfortable with a topic, I have to move onto the next one. The course also jumps around between many topics all at once. No matter how competent I felt at the start, after a few months of this, I have become harrassed and helpless.

10 - When Wombat wakes crying in the night, I want to go to him and comfort him for as long as it takes. I don't want to be grinding my teeth and thinking "Go to sleep, I have to work." I need to be relaxed so that he can relax and know that all is right with the world.

11 - I want to spend time with my husband again. I want to support him and his plans for the future instead of always demanding support for me. His plans involve home, and family and togetherness. The only justification I could find for continuing with the course and qualifying as a solicitor was so that I would have a fallback career to support Wombat in case something ever happened to Yeti - it was hardly a plan for togetherness. I have two honours degrees. If I needed a good job, I could have one tomorrow. I have a wonderful husband who has provided a comfortable life for me. While he is here, my work is to love.

12 - My mother-in-law is 85 and still slaving to care for this family. It is time I took the burden from her. It is time I became an adult and took charge of my house instead of always being distracted by external demands.

13 - Once I made the decision, the relief from tension was immediate for all of us. Wombat certainly felt it. When Yeti and I were playing with him after dinner, he kept going from one of us to the other and giving us kisses. That has to be more important than anything else I can think of!

(I am glad I have done the work for the course so far. I do not think it is wasted - I have learnt a lot about myself and the law, and gained several useful skills that I don't need to be a qualified solicitor to use. I also now own the materials, so I can keep reading on my own, without having to take notes or panic about being examined on them.)


To the Anonymous commenter who sent me a link to the words and sheet music for the Hymn to Our Lady of Good Counsel:

Thank you so very much and God bless you. I will say the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary today for your intentions.

(For non-Catholics, here is an explanation of the Rosary.)


In case you were wondering, I will be maintaining this site, as it is an important way for me to keep contact with my sister, and Yeti agrees that the new habits it is fostering are worth pursuing. I will be setting a strict limit on how much time I spend here, though - and only after more important things are done. I am starting early on my next SMART Habit, by creating a schedule for myself.

1 comment:

Karen@FamilyBriefs said...

Good for you! Sometimes we feel that our decisions are permanent & you should be proud for realizing how unhappy you were and taking the brave steps to change it. Best of luck!