I’m going back to school at 50. Let’s file this under, “Words I never thought I’d utter” for $400 Alex. Like most things in my life over the last year or so though, I’ve come to accept that it’s best to follow my instinct and chase what my heart wants. In this case in particular, I’ve never been more eager to embrace something in my entire life.
Divorce has been like a tsunami for me. The ground beneath me shook violently, followed by a temporary and deceptive calm as the water pulled out, but when that wave came crashing back in, there was nothing, absolutely nothing that it didn’t touch. It’s been humbling, enlightening, terrifying, and exhilarating. It’s only now that I’m able to be an observer of the event, instead of a victim swirling helplessly in the raging water.
It’s meant a complete reassessment of who I am, and what makes me tick. Believe me when I say, there is nothing harder to do than look inwards with a critical eye. It’s painful, but if done honestly, simultaneously freeing. It’s also meant that every meaningful relationship I’ve had in my life has come under a microscope from friends to my family to colleagues.
Needless to say, my sessions with my therapist have been nothing short of profound. I am grateful for her, because it’s been in that sacred, safe space, I’ve had some pretty fantastic a-ha moments, not to mention a few explosive, “What in the actual f*ck?” flashes. It’s opened my eyes to the benefits of psychology so much, that it’s sparked a flame in me.
I’m going to back to school at 50 for my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Queen’s University in Kingston.
The old version of me, would have balked at this undertaking. I would have scoffed and suggested it was too late to shift gears but the new me is here for it, and I can’t wait to get in yo’ head. Of course, I’m still a single mom with two teen daughters to raise, so I can’t exactly go hang out in the quad and head to keggers, so my path forward is long, but the best part is I don’t care. I just want to learn.
Even just that realization is like a drug for me. I never completed post-secondary when I was younger. There was nothing that captivated me enough to continue with it. I used to wear that like a badge of shame, quickly shifting the conversation in groups when the conversation about “where you went to school” came up. I used to think of it as a failure, a mark on my intelligence. Now, head held high, I know it’s never been about how smart I am, just a spoonful of societal crap I swallowed.
During one of my scheduled mini-breakdowns with my psychologist, I was sitting in her office having a cathartic and whole-box-of-tissue cry, and out of my mouth flew my raison d’être, “I never want another woman to feel like this.” And I knew in that instant where I wanted to go.
Life is not a series of failures, but rather a series of lessons, and I’ve been in the best classroom for fifty years. Recently, I jumped out of a plane and in doing so encouraged women to make a leap of their own, if not literally, at least figuratively. I’m not sharing this journey, and the choices I make right now to pump me up (believe me, I’m there) but to get you there.
In the last few months, I’ve received so many private messages from women thanking me for being candid about my divorce journey, for making them laugh, and for even inspiring them to wear jean shorts after seeing me sporting my daisy dukes at nearly 50. One of the best messages though ended with this, “Thank you and keep being amazing! You never know who is looking up to you.” It was a powerful reminder that we can spend our time on this earth making a difference simply by being the best version of ourselves.
So, I’m going back to school at 50 to learn more about the human mind and how I can help women, young and old get through each stage of life empowered. And if just one person reads this and sheds some presets they have about age and moving forward with confidence in new directions, then I’ll be happy. Also, please message me about it because I want to hear all about it. Really.
Love, Candace xo