If not now, when?

There’s a story about a senior citizen who went to medical school. Her dream as a young woman was to be a doctor. She finally did it when she’d retired. A reporter asked her, “Why are you going to medical school now? In five years you’ll be seventy.” Her answer: “Yes, I’ll be seventy but I’ll be a doctor.”
I’ve been thinking about this anecdote for weeks, at least until I made a decision.
I’m going “back to school”–just not to be a doctor. I’ve done my bit for the health care industry.
I’ve applied to Penn State Berks to study for a BA in Professional Writing.
Mrs. Stanton would be so proud.
Mrs. Stanton was my high school English teacher who told me, belatedly, that instead of nursing school, I should go to college and become a writer.
It wasn’t in my stars all those years ago but now it is.
I thought about this for a long time, mulling it over and over.
Can you really keep up intellectually with younger students?
Will you make a fool of yourself?
What if you just can’t do it?
What if you fail?
Those are all the questions I’ve routinely asked myself when I’ve started on any new project.
I’ve never really had a large ego problem—always the opposite.
But the answer to all of those questions: So what?
So what if you can’t keep up intellectually? You’re older and wiser than any young students.
So what if you make a fool of yourself? It won’t be the first or the last time.
So what if you just can’t do it? So what if you fail? At least I tried. I didn’t sit around thinking: what if?
And it would have been an experience—grist for the mill, the writer’s mill.

One thought on “If not now, when?

  1. When, indeed. You will find that being around the ‘youngsters’ is not just invigorating but eye-opening. Trust me, they will have trouble keeping up with *you*.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s