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.
- 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.
- 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.