Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Sense and Sensibility

Every once in awhile Astrid will say to me, "Just hit me over the head with a baseball bat!  Knock some sense into me."

This time she helped me hit my own head because...I needed to quit school but felt too guilty to do it.  Finally, I just did it.  There, I've said it.

What is it about us women, mothers especially, maybe, that keeps us going and going before we finally just say, "Enough already!"  We've made a commitment and nothing will make us quit.  Even if it kills us.

In essence, we believe sticking to our guns, our promises, or our commitments is more important than our quality of life .  We're true to our word and will never be faulted on that.  We may be miserable, but at least we're doing what we said we would do, come hell or high water.  Who cares if the 'story' changed along the way.  We're the consummate martyrs.

But in the end, everyone loses.  That's the thing:  If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

It's longer than this but...after a good, foundational first half of learning Dutch at school, I started getting restless with the second half as it led me into a direction I didn't need/want to go.  I'm 65 and retired.  I do not need to learn about job interviewing or how the Dutch workplace flows.  It might be nice, maybe, to learn about the Dutch political system, how to make a police report for a robbery, or get a newborn baby registered at city hall.  But seriously, I'm not interested.  Nor do I want to take an exam about it at the end.

Did I tell you that once you turn 65, you are not required (like 'most everyone else) to take the inburgerings (integration) exam within your first 3 years in The Netherlands.  Actually, also if you're from the U.S.  But I was so enthusiastic about learning Dutch, they let me into the course and paid tons of money to subsidize me.

My advisor agreed the direction of the second half was not for me but there wasn't another option to replace it, so it was my choice to stay or quit.  However, if I stopped, Social Services wouldn't get their money back.  Talk about a guilt trip!

Enter the baseball bat.  DUH!  If the course doesn't meet the needs of a 65-year-old retired lady who isn't required to take the exam in the first place, why think twice about it!  But I did.  I'm not a quitter.  I wanted to learn Dutch.  I just didn't want to spend needless time on all the other stuff I had no clue would be part of the course.  WAR inside my head.

I finally made the decision a week ago.  Astrid says the stress has fallen off my face.  I'm a new person again, breathing.  The beauty of the whole thing is that here where we live in our senior community are many daily activities and people just dying to help me learn conversational Dutch, now that I've had the foundational start.  It'll be a much more user-friendly 'classroom' with no exam at the end, one letting me work with my own ebb and flow.

Whew!  I still don't like that I quit.  That will never change.  However, my life just got a whole lot better...and a lot more sensible.  You know how they say "If the shoe fits...just wear it."   Anyone out there who needs a good whack with a baseball bat? 

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