Five years ago yesterday I quit smoking; this was a significant life event for me. I started smoking when I was seventeen; I was forty-eight when I quit. I had stopped a few other times in my life but always went back to smoking within a year. Hitting my five-year quit anniversary is exciting! Quitting is not easy and maintaining it is hard work; it does get easier over time but is still difficult.
Right around the time I quit smoking I also started eating better and exercising; starting this healthier lifestyle, I lost nearly 50-pounds. It is the first time in my life I lost that much weight without the assistance of weight loss medications or a frozen food plan program. I simply changed my eating habits and started to exercise. Like anyone who has been on this journey I was excited and convinced that this was it, I would never gain the weight back. Looking back on my five-year quit smoking anniversary, I realize that I was very wrong.
I did lose a lot of weight, and I did it the correct way, using food and exercise. I maintained the weight for maybe a year, and then it slowly started to creep up again. I am now at the same weight I was before my first journey. This is disheartening and hard to accept. I mean I can take it because the scale tells me that I have to accept, but it makes me sad. Today I was reflecting on being a non-smoker and how happy that makes me. That is when it clicked, weight loss, like smoking cessation may not be a one-time journey. I have to try again. I have to look back on what I did right and where I failed and begin again.
Also, I have to be ready. I was ready to quit smoking. I was not just stopping because it was expensive, or because of my health. I wanted to stop because it was annoying to me, it was getting in the way of what I wanted to do. I wanted to stop smelling; I wanted to exercise more, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to have more time in my day, and so many other things.
Now, I am ready to lose weight. Just because I failed once, it does not mean that I will fail this time. If I do fail this time, it does not mean that I will fail the next. We have to continue to try; we have to find THAT time, the time that is right for us. I believe that this time exists and that this is the time for me.
Going to school now actually is realizing a dream for me, going for something that will allow me to change careers and reach my goals.
I mentioned in my post the other day that looking for a school to attend that is 100% online is not for the faint of heart, it is a jungle out there and you need to bring some equipment on your journey. More on that in my next post, for now, I will just tell you that I have decided to seek my degree by attending Tiffin University. Tiffin University is in Ohio; they are a private school that has been around since the late 1800s. So far Tiffin has been attentive and helpful without acting like telemarketers on the last day of the month that are trying to reach their goal (no offense to folks in that line of work, I have done it).
My daughter received her graduate degree from Tiffin University, and she had a good experience and now has a degree from a reputable school. My daughter was my best reference, and not that I do not trust her, but I did do some of my own research, more on that at a later date. Like a suspense novel right?
I am seeking a degree in Healthcare Administration; this may not seem terribly exciting to some, but it is for me as it allows me to make a career change and meet my long-term goals. In about five years or so I want to move back to the east coast, near a beach. The area I am considering does not have a lot of large business, which is necessary for my current career. However, this area does have a large health care presence. With twenty years of management and my newly earned degree, I am hoping to be able to make this move and earn a good living. Bonus, I will be living near the beach and not need to move when I retire. Great plan right?
In my ever changing quest to find myself, I have decided to go back to school. Well, decided, enrolled, and start class tomorrow. I am going 100% online, so technically I have already begun my work because they load it ahead of time.
The decision to go back to school was not a hard one, deciding what I wanted to do, and where to get my degree, that was the hard part. Searching for an online university is not for the faint of heart, you have to have a keen sense of bullshit, and a willingness to say no thank you. Being a Baby Boomer, I am very skeptical about getting an online degree, but with my job and obligations, this is my only choice if I am going to do this. When I first started looking, I was naive and ended up having to talk to a lot of people, some less scrupulous than others.
For those who do not know if you go out to the great big world of the internet and search what you are looking to do, not every site has the best intentions. I found a site that seemed good and the site wanted me to tell it what I was looking to study, how I wanted to study, etc. I filled this out, and mistakenly gave my contact information I am not exaggerating when I say more than seven schools called me within 10 minutes. Most of these schools were what many like to call diploma mills; others were reputable. All were too fast, and it was overwhelming.
I took a step back and decided to search without giving anyone any information until I was ready to apply. After more than a month of weeding out many, it came down to two different colleges. Both not for profit and both had physical locations that have existed for almost 100 years. I finally narrowed down my major and made my choice.
Because I do not have enough school work to do (this is a lie) I will come back and tell you all where I am going and what I decided to study and why. For now, though, class starts tomorrow, and I have about 32,076 hours of school work to do before next Sunday.