Lonely as a Cloud

Hello at the end of a long day,

I have been in my office most of the day working, and there is more to do, but my eyes are tired. Working to review student’s submitted work can be exhilarating and exasperating in the same moment. I am excited when I labor through a cover letter or resume and see their professional person take shape, while simultaneously lamenting that much of what I have offered, honestly attempting to provide genre-expected, best practices is not considered. I find myself hopeful when I look at the hard work evidenced in their documents, and still often shocked by things like never having a part-time job, or learning at college graduation many do not have a drivers license. It is a different world from the life I led or the things that seemed normal practice at 16, and definitely by 21. Undoubtedly, the reasons for such changes are complex, and perhaps never having children of my own is, in part, responsible for my lack of awareness, but I am still significantly blindsided when confronted by such realities.

As I compose this, it is 4:30 a.m. and it is a couple days after I began this post. That pattern is not uncommon. I will often come up with a theme or idea, believing it has promise, but still not completely sure how to attack it. Since I started this (on the Friday of Spring Break), we are back in session, I have road-tripped 1,000 miles in one direction, driven in mesmerizing heavy snow through the Keweenaw darkness, and kept up with student emails and other communication. . . . It is early afternoon and Max is doing prospective student things, and I am working on my own things. It snowed steadily this morning and I found that Bruce and a bit of snow on hills is not a great combination. Thankful for a strong 17 year old with both some weight and some strength. It is both comforting and a bit disconcerting to see all the changes. It is stunning to step back and realize I arrived in the Upper Peninsula 30 years ago. It would be another 3 years before I would find my way to Michigan Tech and embark on a path that would push me to where I am today. I often note that my life is the real-life version of the cartoon, Family Circus. I know there is a destination, but I am still uncertain what it is. That might sound a bit unsettling for some, but I find a particular comfort and freedom in the opportunity to imagine the possibilities. There is so much I still want to learn, to know, to anticipate. Is that wrong? What is it that makes us believe we need to follow the accepted plan, and I do understand the reason for order. As I have noted, and as those who know we well will tell you, I love order and structure. It is how I manage my life on a daily basis. And yet, I am content to leave where I am going up to chance (at least to some degree). I believe that moving forward toward a new possibility is order; it has direction and it requires thought. It is in the thought that I find the most comfort.

William Wordsworth, the English Romanticist, who along with Samuel Coleridge (the same Coleridge noted in Dead Poets Society) are credited with launching Romanticism in England, wrote a poem titled “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” It is he considers what can bring someone solace in their solitude. He ponders what a beautiful field of daffodil’s might offer for that person who often finds themselves in their vacant and pensive moods. When I wonder in a pensive way what I will do, too often I find myself falling into the swirling abyss of expectation. Is it wrong to reject the expectations of conventional wisdom? Sometimes I wonder what I might do if I actually played the about lottery and won an F-ton of money? Most often I ponder who I would use most of it to help other people, and allow myself the opportunity to live comfortably, but just focus on what I might do for others. think perhaps the most difficult thing would be too many people would learn, unless I could do it all anonymously. However, I realize more and more that stuff will not create personal happiness. I realize that I have so fortunate just as I am. It is not about things, and at times, it is not about people. It is about having choices; it is understanding the uniqueness of the moment. We are provided chances to do something that matters. What is perhaps important to me is the occasional latitude that we often miss or fail to realize. Sometimes things happen that cause a change in our plans, and certainly those changes can seem insurmountable. At times those significant changes occur in the blink of an eye, in the glance in the wrong direction. The picture at the outset of this blog is such a consequence. Two years ago, after a long period of looking, I found the most amazing VW Beetle. It had a Fender sound system and sub-woofer stock. I had about every imaginable option. One moment changed the existence of Bruce as I called him. He is now a vehicle that will be used for pieces. And I did get another one, a newer one, not nearly as tricked-out, but newer and a convertible. I have named this one Bella, short for Bella, the Blue Beetle. So here they are: Bruce in happier days; Bruce on the way to a post-mortem; and now Bella.

One of the things I was reminded of in the midst of the last three days is the sort of dichotomous saliency of this blog, the actuality of life, and the truthfulness of this blog’s title. Even this morning, I was speaking to a dear friend about the reality of life as someone who has been single for more than two decades. I am in the midst of people daily, seldom, and some times too often, I am more comfortable alone in the solitude of my little space. I love that I have learned to find a sense of balance managing the two differences. Clouds are for me one of natures most creative things. I am always amazed by the shapes, the motion, and the way clouds can telegraph to us what is happening, perhaps as much in our world as in our lives. When I was a small boy living at my grandmothers, I loved to lay on my back in the soft and cool grass, staring up at the sky. In the distance from her hill I could see the elevators of one of the feed companies in our town. I believed that I was seeing into the heavens, and that those amazing towers were from heaven and the clouds had parted, providing me a glimpse of eternity. I watched and marveled at the clouds as they danced and floated across the panoramic vision I had from my grassy carpet. What made this event so significant that I am writing about it more than six decades later. I think it was both the sense of wonderment and the sense of beauty and peacefulness I found. In the memoir I have created I note my penchant for wandering. Perhaps that wonder and that wander began with Wordsworth’s line, I was living a poem I did not know. Wordsworth writes:

I wandered lonely as a cloud.
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

William Wordsworth “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I think what intrigues me about clouds is their seeming freedom to come and go as they wish. They are controlled by the winds, they are controlled by barometric pressure; Cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals, and given the Latin name that means a curl of hair or known as a mare’s tail it is not surprising they are affected by the wind to the degree they are. Additionally, they often forecast a warm front, which, of course can mean all sorts of things. What I have learned is as I walk, undoubtedly, I will find myself looking up at the clouds and determining what images I might find. Last week, a day late, and what it seems happened throughout the northern section of the country, the widespread area that exhibited Aurora Borealis. I had just returned from Michigan, and my good friend, Susan was sending me things at 3:00 a.m.; the Northern Lights lit up the sky for almost an hour. They are not cloud, but they are characteristic in they come unannounced and they come and go as they please, surprising we earthly inhabitants. Sometimes I feel that way, I am able to come and go as I please, moving in and out of spaces, even situations from time to time, and wondering what I might do in a year or two versus what do I have to do.

In the meanwhile, I am back to commenting, grading and managing life. At times it is easy to believe life is too complicated; it is too unpredictable, and it can certainly be both, but it is not unmanageable if one take the good with the unexpected. It does not have to be overwhelming if we keep the goal in mind and work intentionally toward it. One of my dearest friends got hit with so much more in terms of the unexpected this week than I could ever imagine. I know this will work out for them because they are tenacious; they are capable; and they do not quit. None of it will be easy, but please remember you are not in this alone. I am reminded of the song about clouds, titled “Clouds,” and recorded by Joni Mitchell, who ironically was just awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize.

As always thank you for reading,

Dr. Martin

Published by thewritingprofessor55

As I move toward the end of a teaching career in the academy, I find myself questioning the value and worth of so many things in our changing world. My blog is the place I am able to ponder, question, and share my thoughts about a variety of topics. It is the place I make sense of our sometimes senseless world. I believe in a caring and compassionate creator, but struggle to know how to be faithful to the same. I hope you find what is shared here something that might resonate with you and give you hope.

14 thoughts on “Lonely as a Cloud

  1. I can relate to the sense that while there is momentum and forward movement, the destination of our life journeys are often elusive and challenging to fully define. It seems we are always shifting shape and evolving, especially when we perhaps believe we have finally settled into a stable form of sorts. As you shared your reflection back to the times as a child, when you would lay in the grass and watch the sky, I was reminded of how quickly time passes if we aren’t cautious as to grasp the moments that move us and inspire us to slow down, pause, and take the time for self-reflection. We can so easily forget the value of presence and moving through life steadily, rather than running from one week to the next. That is something I am trying to keep in the forefront as this semester is coming to a close, rapidly!

    It’s good to hear that in the midst of all of this reflection and travel, you were safe despite the loss of Bruce. It seems Bella might be a fun new adventure as you continue on your exploration of the freedom and possibilities you mention. Maybe this new vehicle marks a new phase, a deeper dive into that sense of liberation and excitement. You can glance up a little more often and nod to the clouds, observe the play of cirrus clouds as they dance across the sky, a reminder that all is impermanent and sacred in its fleeting nature.

  2. Being from basically the same generation as many of these new college students, I’ve also been surprised to see how different the way that I was brought up is from many of the others around me. My parents are by no means poor for the area in which we live, but I was always taught to work hard for what I want. I never received the newest iPhone or Playstation for Christmas, and if I wanted something I had to work and save up myself. This was a common theme amongst people in the area where I lived. People would eagerly await the day they could get their driver’s license and then go off and get a part-time job. Today, many of the people even in my grade that I’ve spoken to don’t drive and haven’t worked. I don’t know whether to attribute this to just being brought up in different area or to the circumstances of the past several years, with the world effectively being shut down. I guess, in a way, my rural hometown is a slice of the past, where things are more similar to how they were 30 years ago.

    Regardless, I’m curious to see how these people will adapt to the world beyond college. It just seems like without the real-world experience of working, they’re in for a significant amount of culture shock. It’s like starting a race and giving the opponent a 30 second head start; it will take an extreme amount of effort to catch up. With tuition prices higher than ever and people taking out loans without any worry about how they’ll pay them back, I feel that we’ll slip further into the cycle of laziness. If a person hasn’t tried working, they’re all the more likely to squander their degree. I guess the repercussions of this are yet to be seen, but I think that the world will be changing as a result of it.

  3. While time always seems to be passing us faster and faster, I believe that it is one of the most beautiful parts of life. It is convenient to plan out your future, but so much can happen in such a small amount of time that nothing ever works out exactly as you intended. I believe this is why one is often told to live in the moment – you will never experience this exact point in time again, so you should make the most of it. No two people ever experience the world the same way, and what makes us unique is what we do with the time that we have. Some people like to bury themselves in work while others prioritize family. My personal goal is to make an impact on the people I care about with my time on this planet, because otherwise what else would I be remembered for?

    As a current college student, I see all the time within my peers the different ways that we were raised. My parents wanted their children to be independent, so we were taught basic life skills such as how to properly clean, take care of ourselves, do laundry, cook, and many other things. I met some people my first semester of college who had no idea how to even do laundry. A few weeks ago at work my manager asked many of her younger employees whether they had to do chores while growing up, and I was the only one who regularly had to do them. I believe the work ethic instilled into you while getting older is what will stick with you, and many people I know who were handed everything before college appear lazy today. Unfortunately, these people will struggle after graduation. They will not be used to the hours or the amount of work that they will have to do. This will give me a leg up over them in the real world, but it is always a shame to see people not utilizing their full potential. What one does with the time they have shapes who they are and what can be accomplished throughout their lifespan. While it is important to set goals for yourself that can be attained, you should never forget to take a step back every so often and reflect back on how far you have grown.

  4. I find your fascination with clouds very relatable. Although in my case it is not clouds, it is the stars. Looking at the stars is and has been one of my most favorite things to do. This world is crazy and as you stated “Sometimes things happen that cause a change in our plans, and certainly those changes can seem insurmountable”. The stars seem to give me a sense of stability and peace because as a college student and a nursing student at that, I find myself lacking peace and comfort. There is so much stress on not only school work itself, but the idea of growing up. There is always a new day full of new people, new stressors, new assignments, etc. but the only thing that stays consistent is when the sun goes down and the light starts to fade, the stars are always there, even if we cannot see them. To me, that is peace. Not only does it give me a sense of consistency but it also gives me a safe space. I can look up at the stars and not have to know much of that matter. Although space is being discovered more and more, there is still so much mystery about it. I can simply stare at the sky blankly and just admire its beauty.

    This semester has been one of the toughest semesters for me. Being completely vulnerable in this response-my life seemed to be falling apart at the very seams or so it feels like. Some people go through much worse and I do not compare my problems to theirs at all because I know my problems can be considered minuscule to others but to me, I spent the majority of this semester in a dark space mentally. To the point when I would get asked “Are you okay?” or “How are you doing” the tears would just start pouring out. I have a hard time talking about my problems because like I said I know the issues I have been dealing with can not compare to people who are fighting for their life against nasty diseases. Like you, I like the comfort of my own space. Although I am young and the idea of finding someone to start a life with is supposed to meet its peak within the next few years, I am content. I think that is maybe another reason why I keep the issues to myself because I feel as though no one else can figure them out for me so why burden them by making them listen to something they can’t control?

    I also tend to be a very structured person. I enjoy spontaneity but I am generally very planned out. The thought of my future though is mysterious but not threatening. I too do not mind the idea that I have absolutely no idea where I’m going in life. I like to have an image of what it might look like but it’s almost more exciting to think about your future and wonder where you will be and then when you’re there, look back and see the path that got you there.

  5. When I was a child staring at the sky, I was always imagining space. I gazed upwards, not seeing the shimmering stars or strange planets literally, but building them for my entertainment. What I mean is: clouds were not my thing in childhood. Even now, I am not so interested in them. I prefer the way the sky changes colors or the nature here on the ground. You mentioned the recent strange intrusion of the northern lights, and I am still upset I missed that.

    A few years ago, I was on a plane traveling to Texas. While I know traveling is a major stressor, I really do enjoy flying. (At least, the few times I have done it). I bullied my mom into giving me the window seat, pulling rank as the child. When we made it high enough that it no longer felt like we were flying to space, I opened the window cover. I love nature, I find the natural world so beautiful and I think we are all very lucky to live on a planet like this. I love it, but I am rarely floored by it. I am rarely moved by it. We were flying just above a pillow of clouds. They were plushy looking, like a child’s drawing. It was not just that, though. They rose up in pillars and resembled some kind of fantasy kingdom. It looked as if an entire world had been constructed from what is just essentially air and water.

    I could not get enough, I stared and stared until we were out of the cloud kingdom. It really was a treat to see, I remember it like it was yesterday. I guess this is my way of saying I don’t think clouds are especially lonely. At least, not all of them. If they were living things, I think they would be pack animals. They join together for the most spectacular (and I agree: creative) shows. Of course, none of it is intentional, and we are all just projecting meaning on weather events. Clouds can be lonely, like if there is only one in the sky. I sort of feel like one cloud is many clouds pressed together. They come apart, you know? At what point does one cloud become two? Or three?

  6. It seems that we all have that one thing that brings peace in our lives, and I would have to say mine is sunsets. As I navigate through nursing school there is this constant feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed with the workload and busy schedule. Growing up and especially once I hit high school, sunsets have always been that thing to attract my eyes and heart. The beauty behind the painting in the sky, letting out a sigh of relief, and just staring into it brings me peace and comfort. I have always read that the sky is prettier when you know someone up there, and I could not agree more. I find peace in believing they have painted the sky for me. But most importantly, it is their way of letting me know they are still there watching me grow. Every day there is new assignments due, new changes to the schedule, new things to learn, but there is always the consistency of the painting in the sky.

    As I read your thoughts on part-time jobs, I can say that the way you are brought up in this world is how you will be as an adult. I come from a family that taught me independence and if I wanted something I needed to work for it. Do not get me wrong, they helped me a lot with paying for sports, sport camps, essentials, and different things that you would help your child with until I could understand. I am grateful for this though because here I am today working at my second job since high school, making very good money, and already within the health field before I even graduate. I have learned to save money, to manage money, and when it is appropriate to spend money. With where I am in life, I always dream about what will my future look like, what will my home look like one day, or where will I be at. Although I dream big, I live in the moment. I love a day where the phones are away, and it is family or friends around.

    The last thought I have is that I am very much a structured person. I may say I live in the moment, and I dream of where I will be one day, but I also must know the plan for the day. I am the one that is wondering on Monday what our weekend plans will look like. Structure and plans keep me together while I juggle the overwhelming feeling of school.

  7. Times change and the bulk of people and society along with it. I can see people not having a drivers license, but not ever having a part time job after being in college is baffling to me. I suppose though that thought is a product of where I grew up. Growing up and living in a small town only 1 square mile big, it was nearly impossible to not find a part time job in the area. With so many small stores and restaurants that encompasses that mile, there was plenty or room for opportunity. I still remember my first part time job as a sandwich maker at my local hoagie shop. I was a sophomore in high school and I would get off the bus and head straight to work. It was only a 3 hour shift at $9 under the table, but do you really need more when you’re only 14 years old anyway? It gave me pocket money to be able to go out and do things with my friends or buy games that I wanted to play and that was enough for me.

    Time seems to keep moving faster and faster since I entered college. I am at the end of my 2nd academic year but it feels like I have not been up here for longer than a year. I blame the pandemic for ruining my sense of time, as I feel like it had done to most people. It is hard to imagine that just a year ago, we all had to wear masks to class and there were times that classes would get cancelled due to Columbia County entering the high-risk zone for COVID. Going into my latter half at this university just does not feel right, I feel unprepared like I have not learned enough to be able to step out into the world and hold a career. Then I remember that now I am done with all my introductory level courses, and I will be getting into the real nitty gritty details and on goings of environmental science, and this somewhat provides me with comfort.

    It is nice to see that you found a new car that you really like. I have had my current car for a couple years now at this point. I got it right when I got my license, so I have had it for about 2 and half years now maybe? I cannot exactly remember. I love the car, but it is not without it problems. It seems like I have replaced every part in the hood of that car but more and more problems keep arising. It has the dreaded jeep ‘death wobble’ which no matter how much I try cannot be fixed. I do not exactly have the money to afford getting another car though, so I just tend to avoid being in the 40-50 mph range, as that is when it starts to shake. For my next car, I will probably avoid getting an older jeep like my own 2004 jeep grand cherokee. Perhaps something like a truck, as long as it isn’t a sedan though I do not really care all that much.

    I used to find my peace in solitude, however that all changed when I met the person I now call my girlfriend. Now I cannot stand being alone for an extended period of time. If I have to be, I tend to distract myself with work, school, or something else to just pass the time like games or reading a book. Even though I do not find my peace in being alone anymore, I still cannot stand large crowded spaces or large gatherings in general. Concerts ae re an exception to this though, as those are just a fun time where you really do not have to care about anyone else or anything else that is going on.

    I would like to say that I am also a tenacious person and do not to give up things easily, if at all. I will do my best to push through things, even if it is easier to walk away and not do them. I grew up very responsible and disciplined, which I think helps with this. I mean, how else would I deal with waking up at 6am every day during my breaks from college to go collect peoples trash in the pouring rain and cold.

  8. It sounds like you’ve had a long and eventful few days, with lots of work and unexpected changes. It’s understandable that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and uncertain about where your life is headed. I’m in the same position as finals are next week and doing preparation for my summer internship. But it’s also clear that you’re a person who finds comfort in the unknown and the possibilities it offers.

    It’s interesting to think about the changing expectations and norms of young people today. It’s true that many things that were once considered standard or necessary for young adults, such as having a part-time job or a driver’s license, are no longer the norm. It’s hard to say exactly why this is the case, but it’s probably a combination of factors like changing economic conditions, shifting cultural values, and advances in technology.

    It’s also clear that you’re someone who values order and structure, but also finds solace in the unexpected. It’s okay to embrace the uncertainty of life and allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. At the same time, it’s important to maintain a sense of direction and purpose, even if you’re not entirely sure where you’re headed.

    It’s also true that material possessions aren’t the key to happiness, but having the means to make a positive impact on others’ lives can be a source of great fulfillment. Whether you’re helping others in big or small ways.

  9. Dear Dr. Martin,
    It’s that time of the semester when we all got to push hard. For us students, getting assignments in on time is essential for professors like yourself to get grades at an appropriate time for students. Not being in school for a while, I forgot how stressful this can be for everyone. It’s that rush of getting things I have not felt in an academic environment in a time. This feeling takes me back to when I was a full-time college living in Philadelphia. I am glad of my progress back then, which makes me hopeful of pushing forward. I have a lot more structure compared to back then. It helps me focus on the task at hand. Residing in Bloomsburg is another great plus compared to Philadelphia. There is a peace of calm here compared to the hectic city. Even though I didn’t finish my education goals, I learned about myself. The choices I made from then to this point, I wouldn’t change a thing. I do reflect on what and how I did things compared to now. It brings me some satisfaction that things are going well, with more to come. I understand your thoughts on Bruce and Bella. I had my favorite car, “Trinity.” She was a Honda Civic Si. I put all the original 75,000 miles on that car traveling everywhere and anywhere. When I got into a fender bender one winter, she was totaled. I tried to find the same in the same color, but when I found one, it didn’t feel the same. I named my current car “Serenity” and treated it as a new adventure with a different vehicle traveling to even more places I haven’t been to yet. Again, great choice of music for this post as well thanks for sharing.
    Luis Fuentes

  10. At a young age, I was taught to do many things for myself; my parents wanted me to be independent, and I now see what was going through their heads as they teach my younger brother the same thing. College has shown me that life is different for every person, and you might be thinking, “well duh??” but the reality didn’t hit me as hard when I knew everyone in my hometown elementary school and high school. I like looking at resumes and introductions my classmates post online about; it gives me a sense of who they are and how they got there.

    I am the same as you in the fact of wanting things to be structured and organized; you could call me a ‘type A’ person, but sometimes I wish I could be a ‘type B.’ As a nursing student, you are taught to be organized, thorough, and on top of your game because, face it, you have a life in your hands. I find comfort in knowing what’s next and feel really out of place when I don’t. Living in this state of mind can get lonely as I ponder over feeling relaxed and carefree; I envy those who are able to let life hit them in any direction and can go with it without feeling distressed. With all that being said, I also don’t know what it’s like to be in other people’s shoes; I’m not one to judge books by their covers, literally and figuratively.

    I like the thought of us humans as clouds, coming and going. As a child, and honestly now as an adult, I look up at the clouds to find shapes, objects, and beings; to my surprise, the person next to me might see something different; that’s the beauty of people. We all see each other differently, leading me to believe that clouds can have the same meaning as people… beautifully unique. I think we all have something we enjoy looking at in our earth and solar system, mine being clouds and nature in general. I had the opportunity to take earth science in high school, and I loved it; I learned things that you mentioned: cirrus clouds are string-like and hang out in high altitudes, stratocumulus are low altitude clumps, and our big flat ones that assemble thunder and lightning are cumulonimbus. Along with that, I also learned to see the elegance behind our earth.

    Thanks for sharing yourself and inspiring your readers into creating our own pieces of writing.

  11. I too am surprised that some people have never worked a part time job or got their license in their teenage years. I began working when I was fourteen and still have that same job today at age twenty one. I started out working part time, usually just weekends, but now I work practically full time when I am home from school for breaks. As for driving, I, like i believed most people did, got my permit right around my sixteenth birthday and my license six months later. When some of my friends or coworkers didn’t do the same, I always found myself perplexed because getting your drivers license when you’re sixteen or seventeen comes with a sense of freedom. It also comes with independence, which is what my parents want for me and my sisters.

    I agree that stuff does not create happiness. Just because someone has everything doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy. However, I do believe people play a part in happiness. Though it takes getting to know a lot of people and becoming friends, which often times does not turn out great, eventually you end up with people in your life that bring you happiness. But I believe having choices also results in happiness. Taking opportunities and doing something beneficial to yourself or others can make you happy, which took me quite some time to realize.

    I too find clouds fascinating. When I was younger, I would lay in the grass and watch them move and point out the shape of them or what item/animal they resembled. I would watch them move, wondering why they were moving so fast one day and so slow another day. They still interest me. While I no longer lay in my yard and look up at them, when I am a passenger in a car, I find myself focusing on the clouds and seeing what shapes they’re making or what they resemble.

  12. The same as you, I am a fairly solitary creature, if not of my own design. My path through life has shaped me into one- my family moved at major social milestones in my life. We moved when I was five, then again when I was twelve. I had never anticipated the second move, nor the impact that living in PA would have on me. Whether it was the move itself or the people here that changed me so deeply, it was a fundamental part of my development.
    The isolating quality of moving so often in childhood, alongside the equally distancing effect of my neurological differences, left me with few acquaintances and fewer friends. As such a latecomer to the close-knit school cliques, I ended up drifting between many groups, never quite fitting in nor feeling accepted. The few close friends I had made, for as short of a time I had them, had always described me as bright, someone who draws attention to themselves with every move.
    But I eventually fell out of contact with them, as I had with my friends in Vermont, and I drifted yet again through high school, disconnected from my peers.
    I’ve lost many friends from this drifting, for better or worse, and you have too. But I have good friends now, far closer than I have ever had before, and will hopefully keep them for far longer than I ever have before. But your story of drifting still resonates deeply with me, another striking aurora, there one hour and gone the next.

  13. Dear Dr. Martin,

    Comparing your childhood years to mine, they are very different in various ways. My parents always tried to assist in everything I did and didn’t really like me doing things independently. For some reasons I liked it that way and other reasons I didn’t care for it. Once I moved up to teenage years, the dependence started to slowly fade away into nothing and I became mostly independent. As I became more independent, I started to apply for college, get my driver’s license, and start job searching. You mentioned about how students would graduate college with not having any job experience or not having a driver’s license; it definitely is hard to believe. I got my driver’s license shortly after I graduated high school and it felt weird not driving to school with all of my friends. Some of my friends in high school did work a part-time job and while they worked, I played sports and did extra curricular activities. This was the rare time where my parents said to not work and enjoy high school without stress in the workplace.

    There have been a couple of occasions where I have traveled alone and it really has a different feeling. I have been to Rochester, NY and Syracuse, NY on some Christmas shopping trips and it easily was a bit nerve racking, but I was able to get over it fairly quickly. The part that got me feeling nervous was the driving. The furthest I had driven by myself was to Elmira, NY, which is about 30 minutes from where I live. This was a big change for me and I was willing to jump into the deep end and get some experience driving in large cities by myself. This all starts from wanting to get that driver’s license and getting that first job. These things get you ready for the real world and some might not make it there.

    Thanks for sharing all of your memories and making us write better!

  14. Sounds like you had a very long day at work, I can relate especially this time of the year. It is the beginning of June and as a lawn and landscaper it is the most busy time of the year for me. We are going 8-10 hour days 5-6 days a week and even alternating working on Sundays. It is extremely exhausting and trying to keep up with school work does not make it any easier. On top of all that trying to keep my parents happy and the house and everything looking nice for my brothers graduation is no easy task and fitting in time to see my girlfriend 20 minuets away is not easy but we are trying to make it work.
    It is so bizarre to me that people would not have their license at the age of graduation or other things like part time jobs because they seem like such second nature to me.
    Again to reiterate why this is being posted at 12 o’clock at night is because I worked all day and had two other online classes that I am behind on and this got pushed back until the last possible minuet which is now kicking me in the ass but I am trying my best and hopefully my hard work pays out (I really pray it does).

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