Five days to go. This is my last Monday here. It’s like leaving college (or moving) again.

The difference is that my future, while clearly planned, is less certain than it has been in the past five years. I had a job before I left Cornell, and of course we had a new home when we moved out of the old one in April. Sure, I’m going to school in two weeks…but there’s little guarantee that I will succeed, and there is no way of knowing how my plans will work out in the end. The truth is that I have plenty of doubts and fears about what lies ahead. I’m sure that I’m doing the right thing by quitting and going to school, but the inherent risks and uncertainty get to me once in a while.

Regardless of the big picture, there are times when I wonder if it makes any sense to give up a good job to throw myself deep into debt. There are plenty of people who work for the money, then live their lives when they come home. Let’s not forget that I’ve been out of school (and, therefore, out of practice) for five years now. Even if the subject matter is not new to me, I’m worried that I won’t be able to compete with everyone else. On days when I’m feeling particularly nervous about the academics, I’m tempted just to take the safe road and stay where I am. There are many worse things I could do, such as rack up student loans and get absolutely nothing out of them. Furthermore, I’m not blind to the fact that this life change will effect much more than my own future. Kim and I don’t want to be first-time parents at 35. We will most likely start a family while I’m a student, and that will certainly make life interesting. Again, it would be much easier if I just stay the course.

Then again, there was never any guarantee that those plans would pan out. And while I’m taking a calculated risk, I’ve already decided that accepting failure is infinitely better than never taking the risk in the first place. The unpredictable nature of life should not deter anyone from breaking out of their boundaries and trying new directions if they aren’t happy where they are, and failure should be treated as an educational opportunity instead of a roadblock. I still worry about failure, and how we will work out the demands of an adult life as I go back to school…but I no longer want to avoid those problems.

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