With the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to think upon my life. One of the things I enjoy doing is pondering moments of decision. The poem by Robert Frost always comes to my mind as I consider the roads I didn’t take.
One of the first, came when I finished my BA and first MA degrees. At that time, I had the opportunity to continue going for the Ph.D. But I was tired.
I started university in 1992, and, by 1996, I had both my bachelors and first masters degrees. I studied full time, living at home with my parents and attending University of Houston’s beautiful main campus. In four years, I had accomplished more, educationally, than most people, and I was ready to get started on living.
So, I headed off to Mexico City, Mexico. The idea was to do a Ph.D. at a university down there, while at the same time enjoying discovering more about my cultural heritage. The studying part never materialized. In all honesty, I didn’t even really try to apply to any universities. I focused on finding work, and enjoying the city.
Looking back upon that moment, I can’t help but wonder what would life had been if I had instead stayed the course, and finished my education. What if I had taken the opportunity to enter into the doctoral program at Perdue University, since my mentor professor had graduated from there? How would my life be different?
For starters, I would not have ever taught sixth graders in a public school, because, with a doctorate, I would have gone on to teach at a university somewhere. That would have opened up a whole different avenue for my writing. I have no doubt that writing would have remained a part of my life, and as a professor you have to research and publish.
Would Thyrein’s Galactic Wall, and the universe full of characters whose lives play out in my mind, have come to me? Or would I have gone on to write more in the realm of nonfiction?
I’m certain that I would have worked in fiction, because my brain loves all things wild and imaginative. Dragons surely would have been a part of my work. Yet, the universe of my books was born in that 6th grade classroom. Would it have come to me in another way? Are there things we are fated to do?
Sometimes, I believe there is a destiny we are born to fulfill. Other times, I am convinced there’s randomness to our choices. Do the roads in our lives take us inexorably to the same location?
However it may be, I didn’t take that path. I went down a different road. Perhaps, I might have saved myself some heartaches, but there would have been different ones to face. That is a certainty.
I suppose, I still could do the doctorate. That path is always there, waiting. Should I? Where might that road go?
Hmm. Something to ponder.