It's hard to believe that over two years ago I started my MFA journey with University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert. I have spent countless hours writing, reading, and participating in wonderful discussions on literature and the craft of writing. I have to admit, I didn't know what I was about to embark on and I was more than a little nervous. I'm no spring chicken and I worried I wouldn't be able to keep up or put out the quality of prose expected of an MFA candidate. Being technologically challenged also led to my anxiety, wondering if I would be able to figure out the platform used in the program. It was all a gigantic leap for me, but one I am so glad I took.
I can't say it was all easy, in fact, I was challenged every step of the way, forcing me to push past my fears and insecurities I have harbored for decades. But that's just it, that's the magic of taking on this program, of forcing myself to emerge from the safety of my world void of the challenges I was certain I would fail. It's hard to put yourself out there, to expose your weaknesses in the hope of becoming stronger, but it's the only way to grow. I often say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," and I'm a true believer in that quote. I believe pushing ourselves past our fear of failure, past our fear of exposure, past our anxiety, builds strength. And if we fail? Well, we pick up the pieces, we learn what did and didn't work, and we try again. We also gain an appreciation for what it takes to jump that hurdle and those who have jumped before us.
I guess, what I'm saying is take the risk. Do something that challenges you. Throw away all the excuses for why you can't and replace them with a list of why you can. I juggled a family of five and amazingly, they didn't starve to death or get disgusted with my "housekeeping" or lack thereof. The world didn't come to an end (although the pandemic is trying to prove me wrong) because I let a few things go to achieve something bigger than I thought I was capable of. Don't fear failure, fear not knowing if you'd fail by not taking the risk. It's up to you. You are the driver of your own future--take that road you've always wanted to take.