Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”

In June of 2008, I graduated high school. In the months prior to my graduation, I struggled with deciding where I wanted to go to college. My mom was the only person who ever went to college in my family, and she only went to the local community college, and I felt like that just wasn’t an option for me (no offense at all to anyone who went to community college, I was an ignorant child who thought community college was below me, but now I would be thrilled to be able to attend classes as our local community college). I had had four years of extra help, tutoring, advanced classes, and college tours, thanks to the Upward Bound program, but I still struggled. I think, deep down, I felt like I didn’t belong in the area that I grew up in. I had applied to many good schools in the area, and had gotten accepted into all of them, but I wanted something more.

During this time, I was dating a great guy named Matt, who I wrote about a bit here. Matt lived in Missouri, I lived in Maine, and we had met online. Matt was determined to go to school in Canada, so we applied to the same schools, and I ended up getting accepted to the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Grenfell Campus. After springing this information on my mother, and packing my life up, I left for Canada, leaving everything behind, and changing my life entirely.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if Matt and I had stayed in a long distance relationship, or even went our separate ways, and I attended one of the several universities in Maine that I had been accepted into? Let’s talk about The University of Maine Farmington, for example. This is an excellent school, as well as my top choice school that I applied to, for local schools. Many of my friends from Upward Bound applied, and ended up attending this school. If I had chose to go to UMF, I would have qualified for so much more in financial aide, as well as scholarships, and probably would have been able to stay in school. I would have had more opportunity to make more friends, and become closer to the friends that I knew who went there. I have two good friends that I met in Upward Bound, Barbara and Kat, who both attended UMF, and who I have grown closer to in the last couple years, despite our distance. I would have loved to go to school with them. I would love to have friends that know me, and know where I came from, who I can talk to, face-to-face, and have a good time with. In the 8 years since I left home, I haven’t had that. At all. And it is so lonely.

I love my fiance, and I love my son, and I love our life that we have built… but all of these What If? questions tug at me daily. What if I had stayed in Maine, went to UMF, and had gotten my degree? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be single? Would I have any kids? Would I have a cat or a dog? Would I have started my career? Would I have a house? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

Heck, maybe on the day I would have left to go to UMF, I would have crashed, and died, and none of those questions would even matter. Who knows? What I do know, is that I love my life currently, despite financial difficulties, or family drama. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

This prompt has inspired me to reach out to my old university, to see how much I owe them for tuition, and what my payment options are. I can’t afford to pay anything now, but it will be nice to have a number in my head to work toward.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 2/18/16

Present day (?).

I was walking around on a large university campus, and the path the I was walking on turned suddenly into a 90 degree, vertical  wall in front of me. I was wearing red flats, and jeans, and tried climbing the wall, but there was nothing to grab on. There was grass on both sides of the path, and I tried to grab onto the large weeds to try and pull myself up, but kept falling down.

A group of young men walked up behind me, and started pulling all kinds of equipment out of their bags. One of the guys turned to me, smiled, and asked why I didn’t just take a different path. I shrugged and asked him if they could help me. They showed me how to properly scale the wall, and I got to the top.

I walked into a large building, which opened into a concert hall, and sat down among a group of other people my age, all holding various instruments. I pulled a clarinet from my backpack, and we all started practicing. A group of young children was being ushered into the hall by a few adults, and they all sat in the first few rows of seats, and looked at us excitedly. We played an upbeat, marching band type song, bowed, and departed.

Then, it was dark outside, and I was back at the vertical wall path again. I put my backpack on the ground, and tried to climb the wall again, despite having no help. As I was struggling, a young woman walked by, laughing, and asked me why I didn’t just go around. I looked over at her, and watched as she disappeared around the side of the wall. Embarrassed and confused, I followed her, and found another path, with a much gentler slope upward. I started walking behind her, frustrated that it had taken me so long, and could hear the band playing from inside a nearby building. I started walking toward a very large, columned building, where there was some kind of protest happening.

And then I woke up.