Friday, March 27, 2015

What ifs

Human nature: we all see that others have advantages we lack.  We don't see the advantages that we hold over others.

I don't think it's right for me to dwell much on my disadvantages.  I should just make the most of what I have.  I have many advantages that others don't.

And yet, with that disclaimer, there are some things I'm dwelling on.
  1. Growing up, I got good grades and did not get into trouble, so they figured I was doing well and left me alone.  I don't think I really understood at the time what I was missing, because it was the life I knew.  But summer vacations with my aunt, her husband, and her stepsons, it was different.  I had more room to expand.  Physically, there was a lot of hiking.  Mentally, I was around more intellectual people.  That's where I thrived.  What if that was my life growing up, and not just something that happened for a small part of the time? Maybe it would have helped if I had gone to a different school, maybe a Waldorf school, and if I had gone more to summer camps.  As I  look back at my youth, it wasn't bad, but it feels lack there was a lack of opportunity to grow and thrive.
  2. My aunt advised me to go to the best college I could get into.  That was before the web.  It was more difficult to get information on colleges.  I looked up the top colleges, but I didn't look up the ones that weren't quite so highly ranked.  Marlboro College and College of the Atlantic did not come up on my list.  Would I have thrived at one of those colleges?  When I was in college, I loved it, and felt I had made the right choice, but when I look back on it, I feel like it was a place for rich people, and I might have been better off at an earthier place.  I seem to have some attitudes ingrained in me, partly from college, but also perhaps from my great grandfather.  Ideas about how I should achieve a certain kind of success.  There's this mix in me.  My parents are earthy people, who avoid big cities, banks, lawyers, and big corporations.  But then I went to college with people who came from the world my parents avoid.  My college told me that I am supposed to succeed in that world, while my upbringing ensured that I will never be able to fit in in that world.  And yet, with my snooty education, I don't fit in in an earthier world either.
But you can't change the past.  The path my life has taken so far is set in stone.  But the path before me is full of possibility. 

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