Archive for January, 2012

Piled Higher and Deeper

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

It’s official.  After years of bull shit, more shit and even bat guano piling higher and deeper, I am awarding myself an official Piled higher and Deeper Degree, which I refer to as a PhD from The University of Life.  It wasn’t easy but like those before me have stated, “If getting a PhD is easy, then everybody would have one!” 

I am now officially eligible to practice the art of life after serious understanding and preparation in the field of grief, loss, betrayal, doubt, guilt, loneliness, obsessions, addictions, anger, fear, angst and anxiety.  Each of these fields in suffering is required curriculum to achieve a rich and meaningful life.  I am proud to say that I passed each class, some with flying colors, some in the darkest of grays, but I passed nonetheless.

It was a huge life changing commitment!

But I did it.  I obtained way over the minimum amount of credit hours required in the field of suffering, as anyone diagnosed with cancer or faced with job loss or a mid-life crisis knows.  I researched extensively, read every self help, “How to”, psycho-babble text and instructional manual and searched through archive after archive, sometimes unveiling truths in the darkest of places.  I attended classes, went to study groups, joined book groups and re-evaluated the so called right food groups.  I recorded more lab hours than sleep, interned for the wise and not so wise, pulled all-nighters, pulled strings and pulled my hair out trying to make sense of the absurd, illogical, and bizarre always making sure to take good notes along the way.  And, last but not least, I published my findings.         

I admit that I have had a few setbacks; a few repeated lessons before it finally sank in.  I also confess to times when I was lured towards electives and extracurricular activities in search of fun, escape and instant gratification. But those classes were always fleeting, elusive and full.  I suppose therein lies the attraction.  The core classes required for my PhD, the classes I tried to avoid like the plague but always seem to have space, demanded not only my blood, sweat and tears but my soul.   It is not easy taking classes in suffering voluntarily.  

But, I did not give up even when funds were tight and I went hungry living off of chocolate, cheap beer, other people and hope.  I got back on course, sometimes kicking and screaming, like Dante, lost at mid-life, who in the end found his way out of the dark wood, a clutch win.   

Eventually, I finished my dissertation and defended it before a panel of experts; teachers, advisors, mentors, friends, my children, my family, my husband, the neighbors and community.  I argued with fierce determination and demonstrated my capacity to hang on when one feels there is nothing left to hang on to, to forgive when all seems unforgivable, to be accountable when I prefer not to count, to change when change seems impossible and to move on when I don’t feel like moving.   After intense scrutiny, and examination, I showed mastery, confidence, and preparation addressing and re-addressing any and all issues, problems, questions and concerns thoroughly convincing both the experts and myself that I am worthy of this degree. 

It took a lot of guts facing the panel of experts and myself but “no guts, no glory.”  And, the glory is not mine alone it is for all the people that are a part of me.    

I know that getting my degree does not promise meaning or an end.  It is not a degree of entitlement.  There are no guarantees.  But it is a rite of passage of sort, an investment in my future.  It makes me better equipped as I continue my journey.  Maybe I can even pass-on the wisdom, knowledge and experience I have gained to others.

By the way, if you have not already earned your PhD, don’t worry, you will.  No one gets through the University of Life without it.  And a word to the wise, please do not fall for the quick accredited life degree scams you find on-line.  There is only one way to earn a real PhD from the University of Life; you must enroll.  There are no short-cuts, schemes or quick relief strategies.   

Class begins now…

Disclaimer:  PhD’s vary considerably based on time, location and experiences.  No two degrees are a-like, chocolate is not a cure-all and cheap beer can do more harm than good.