Several of my friends and a couple of my relatives have asked me why I have decided to pursue a Doctor of Education Degree, which is quite an undertaking and will require three or four years of my time. Below is a personal, somewhat lengthy, and at times, confusing explanation as to my “Why.” I hope it clears some things up and gives a bit of insight into the enigma that is me.
The last fourteen months have been a wild ride for me. And by “wild” I mean akin to one of a giant rollercoaster. As you may or may not know, my life-partner of 21 years passed away in 2019, and the following year (October 2020, 14 months ago) I had to move from the condo I had been renting from my son because they wanted to sell it. I have always been on my own, never dependent on anyone else. When I was married or with a partner, we cohabitated, but I very well could have handled things on my own if needed. However, there were no available apartments in Boise at that time, so I agreed to move in with my son temporarily.
I was not happy about it, as I knew from listening to others and being observant, that families moving extra family into their homes could cause a multitude of annoyances and issues. Turned out, I was correct with my assumptions. Without going into private details, things were not working out. I am independent and I’m not accustomed to being under anyone’s thumb. I need to govern my own life and do so under my own roof. After nine months, it was a mutual agreement that I would move on.
But where was I to go?
In previous weeks before leaving Boise, I had been watching YouTube videos about nomads, and people living in their vans and RVs on purpose. Nomads are a whole sub-culture in and of themselves, and, quite frankly, the lifestyle appealed to the romanticist and dreamer in me. I thought it would be the perfect solution. I could travel like a snowbird, south in winter and north in summer. I could write to my heart’s content and visit places still on my bucket list.
I made lists of everything I would need by watching the videos, and began my search for a late model used van. The idea morphed into a dream that further fueled my vision of being on my own without a care in the world.
Two obstacles stood in my way:
- I have a disability in that I cannot walk very fast due to a spinal injury. I currently use a cane, but was using a walker for a long time. That did not deter me, as I’d heard that a lot of disabled people live as nomads.
- I was completely unprepared. I had saved money, but used it to buy the van outright so I wouldn’t owe anything on it. That left me with very little expendable cash. The list of items I would need and the alterations I would need for my van in order to make it livable for me, especially with my mobility issues, were expensive. However, that did not stop me from leaving Boise on July 2nd, headed for points east, specifically Yellowstone National Park. I was excited…
Although my excursion through Yellowstone was breathtaking, my new life soon brought me to my knees. My first night upon exiting Yellowstone was spent in a KOA Campground, one that was over-crowded and definitely not as advertised. I tried to climb in the back of my van when it was time to sleep, but I was so exhausted, I could not climb in. Due to my spinal injury, I was also unable to climb from the driver’s seat to the back of the van. As a result, I spent the entire night sitting up in the driver’s seat of the van. It was cold and I was pretty miserable, to put it mildly. Two more nights went by during my travels, and although I was able to climb in the back and get in my bed, everything else I did became increasingly difficult.
I was quickly becoming disheartened about my choice to live in a van. I called my stepmom in Georgia, who I was supposed to be visiting the next month, and asked if I could come early, and she said of course. On the way to Georgia, I contracted a fungus on my feet (no idea why or how) and also became depressed and lethargic. By the time I arrived, I was getting sick. I ended up a few days later in the ER, had a toenail removed, and antibiotics for an infection. I was sick for awhile. I threw up a lot, and even wondered if I had COVID, even though I had been vaccinated.
I did improve, however, and spent three months with my Dad (who is suffering from dementia) and his wife Donna. They were wonderful to me, and it was three of the most peaceful months of my life. Spending that quality time with my Dad was priceless, and I will always hold those moments in my heart. But, it was again time to move on. I had been trying to procure an apartment in the area, having given up on my nomad dreams. I was unsuccessful in finding anything.
In the middle of September, my sister in northwest Georgia invited me to come and look at apartments in her town. I was excited to think I might finally have a place to call home again. I went to see her and we went to several places and collected applications. That week, I put in a very involved application for an apartment in her town, but the apartments were based on income, and the waiting list was long.
During the wait, I have been staying at my sister’s apartment. She gave up her bedroom for me, and she has been staying in the guest bedroom. Due to my spinal injury, I would not have been able to get up from the low bed in the guest bedroom, so she selflessly gave up her comfort for me. I moved in with her in October, and she has been absolutely lovely and welcoming, and made me feel like I’m not alone in this world, and there are people out there who really want me around. My Dad and Donna treated me the same way. Yes, I want to live on my own, but knowing these people love me for who I am has meant the world to me. They do not judge me. They do not decide how I should live my life. They just love me and have helped me out of a tremendously difficult situation. I am a very prideful individual, and I am humbled in their presence. My apartment will be available around Christmas, and I have put my deposit down and now busily trying to collect furnishings and dishes, etc., to make it my own. Again excited!!!
So, back to the reason for this post. Why have I committed to an arduous (my son described it with this word, and he was correct!) journey of working toward my Doctorate?
- I earned my Master’s Degree nine years ago, and have since felt the desire to continue the journey, culminating in my completing something I never could have dreamed of when I was younger. At 68, I finally know myself, and I know my worth. I am intelligent, brave, a bit too bold at times, and ever curious about this wonderful thing called life.
- I am doing this to show myself that I can, not to show anyone else. I do brag a lot, but quite frankly, I have a lot for which to brag!
- Bottom line. My “Why” is purely Because I can.
I sincerely hope you will wish me well in my endeavors, and maybe take away something from my sharing this long explanation with you. Everyone has their dreams, and none are more or less significant than any others. I’m so happy to wake up each day and have the blessed opportunity to follow my dreams…