I tweeted this yesterday… but I thought I’d post a few more thoughts today.
I am now – officially – an MBA. My master’s degree is done. Like, really for real done. Sure, class ended a few weeks ago, and I’ve been enjoying the generous expansion of my freer time in the evenings. But now I have the paper that says it. Now I have the stamp of approval. Now I can truly say I’m done.
Well. Not done, really, am I? Because every milestone is just that: a measure of progress towards some greater destination. They don’t call it “commencement” because it’s the end of something, now do they? That would be more like a “concludement” or something.
That means, ideally, this is a time not merely of reflection but a time of anticipation, a time of looking forward, a time of planning.
For me, that will mean a lot of things. First, there’s the aforementioned “freer time”. I say “freer time” and not “free time” because that time isn’t all entirely mine to spend how I will. The first claimants to that time, primarily, are Dear Wife and son B.T. I’ve got to make up for the last three years of school – and a year of B.T.’s life – and of being a semi-absentee father. Luckily B.T. doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge. He’s still the happiest little man I’ve ever seen whenever he sees me coming home. He’s got my heart all wrapped up in a neat little package, he does. So I want to be there for him, and for Dear Wife. I want to be an active participant in his life. And I want to be a productive and accomplished husband. There will be projects around the house. Somehow, I’m going to have to figure out a way to be on-top-of-things and proactive, working on things that need to be done without constant promptings and detailed Honey-do lists compiled by Dear Wife. Not my forte, I will admit. Not precisely sure how I will overcome that little hump. (Fathers/husbands who perchance happen across this blog: how do you do it? Share your insights, please, in the comments!) This free time should also be accompanied by an increase in the opportunities for Dear Wife and I to remind ourselves why we got married in the first place: to spend time enjoying each other’s company, sharing our joint interests and having new experiences together. And date nights. We definitely want – nay, need – to have more date nights.
The remainder of that time will be divided three ways, with the larger share, if all goes according to plan, to the first. One, writing and writing-related projects; two, reading and making my way through an extensive back-log of books on the to-read list; and three, occasionally playing games and watching movies. The latter can be a very helpful creative recharger for me – in that way it can support the first goal – but left to excess it can also be an enormous time-sink. So I have to approach it with the utmost care and discipline – I must stick to a hard schedule and time-limit for game playing. (This can be made more difficult when games force the use of “save points” to save your progress; I hate it when a game uses the “save point” mechanism, because that forces me to work around the game’s time-frame rather than my own. That said, I have a fondness for the type of video game for which the “save point” is a very common mechanism – namely CRPGs and related genres.)
For the first of these, writing, I have two writing projects laid out before me (with handy progress bars in the sidebar). Plus there are ongoing blog-posts to keep up with. I’m still working out how best to schedule my time for writing, and what sorts of regular writing goals make sense for me. (The question has prompted me to embark on what is perhaps a silly diversion, but which will result in me finding a way to better plan my writing goals. I may have an update on exactly what I mean by that at a later date.) I’m also still working out precisely how this blog will change now that being in school is no longer a topic that provides a source of updates. Do I need a new theme, and a new focus for my blog? Where does it go from here? Questions I want to answer in time. (Again: dear readers, share your thoughts in comments.)
And then there is the other elephant in the room: the purpose of this whole MBA crusade in the first place. I’m on top of that. But I’ve a long way to go to make this “investment in myself” pay dividends. I can’t be lax or allow myself to get comfortable now that I’ve reached this goal. I’ve got to figure out what that means for me in the grander scheme of my career, and learn quickly how best to take advantage of it. That’s a tall order as well. I don’t want to look back on this decision – to go to this particular school and get this particular degree – in five years or in ten and regret the choice that I made. But if I can’t take my career to new places, and if I can’t bring home sufficient quantities of bacon to make for a comfortable living for my family in years to come, I undoubtedly will. The time, then, is now to chart the course to happy days ahead.
So yes… I have the degree. But I’m not really done. Not by a long shot.