I've gotten a couple of e-mails from Mom in the last week. Most of it was mundane stuff, but in her latest missive, she said I should consider other options within New York for going back to college. When I first read that, I was a little bit perturbed. A week and a half ago, she was the one counseling me to stay in the nuclear power field before my skills therein faded. I don't know why she has reversed herself so suddenly.
Before I could dispassionately process her latest suggestion, I had to move clear of two distinct emotional states. The first is a lingering bitterness at the entire higher educational establishment. Stony Brook gave no definite reason for rejecting my application. That leaves me to wonder if my age was a primary factor in their decision. Am I too old a dog to be taught new tricks? I certainly don't think so. Regardless, in the hours and days since learning of the decision, I resolved do this on my own terms - and those terms were getting a job, with the possibility of pursuing a degree in parallel.
The second feeling was the reminder of my mom's influence on the last truly major decision I took in my life - joining the Navy, of course. Without her mentioning the military, I would have never in my wildest dreams considered enlisting. I've experienced both great highs and great lows over the last six years, and I don't deny that the service has given me many valuable things. But I couldn't shake the thought that the next chapter of my life should be entirely of my own making, and that I should do exactly the opposite of whatever my mom says.
I knew that letting the facts and emotions simmer for a bit was the right thing to do, so I took a few deep breaths and pondered. All Mom is really saying is that I shouldn't simply give up on college because my primary means of getting there went up in smoke. And she's right on that point. It does me no good to foreclose a perfectly good option, especially one that I've been expecting and anticipating for months.
Also calming me was recalling the concept of "circle of influence" versus "circle of concern," something often preached by my previous Chief of the Boat. While the college situation may be important to me, there's not a damn thing I can do about it right now, because I'm inside a poop-shaped black steel tube, hundreds of feet below sea level! This is cramping me in other ways, like finding out whether or not Cornell hockey is in the Frozen Four. (I know they won their first NCAA game, but I have no data on the regional final, though it was played four days ago.) But then again, when Memphis returns to home port, I'll never go underway on her again...
(And no, I will not stay in Connecticut, even for college - just the thought makes me shudder.)