I had decided that it was already too late.
Too much time had passed and my brain was too old to absorb anything new.
And then I had that conversation with Sr. Roberta, and she mentioned Loyola. My curiosity was in full bloom as I postponed bedtime to find out if what she had described really existed. There it was, nicely detailed under the Pastoral Counseling tab. As I read the description, I became more excited. This was the program I had envisioned, but did not know had existed anywhere. I completed the enrollment form for the next information session, and as I hit the ENTER key, I realized what I had done. I was actually considering returning to college. Ten years after trashing my application to a nearby state university, I was requesting information for a program I had just heard about.
That was 5 years and 73 credits ago. I wish I could say that it was easy or seamless, but it was not. With my financial obligations, there was no way I could quit my job which was located in D.C. near the U.S. Capitol. The commute to Columbia was sometimes a challenge, especially during rush hour, but my car eventually learned to find the way on its own, in spite of gridlock, rude drivers, or those who seemed to have no sense of urgency. Sometimes I would walk into class tired; sometimes my eyelids would grow heavy as I unwound in my chair; but only for a brief period. Eventually I would become re-energized and ready to participate with my classmates.
It is sometimes mind-boggling when I realize how much personal peace I have found in the Pastoral Counseling program. When my friends question my sanity or mention how long it is taking me to graduate, I do worry at times, but then I jokingly tell them that I hope to graduate before I turn 100. The truth is, I believe that whatever age I am when I walk the stage at graduation, it would be the right age for me. There is no turning back now, and I am glad I realized that it is never too late, especially when dreams are waiting. There may be challenges, but life has a way of working things out, if only you allow yourself to be open to possibilities.