And Doubt Rears Its Ugly Head……

I know the title sounds dire, but it really isn’t all doom and gloom.  It’s that I have 24 hours left before I pack up my belongings, move to a small town in wine country where I know no one and begin schooling in a career that has taken me by surprise.  This time tomorrow, I will be driving up to the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA to move into my dorm room (albeit it is a single) and prep for my first day of classes as a culinary student.

I am going to be seeing alot of this logo very shortly.....

Photo Credit


I am officially scared now.  I have been able to play it cool for the last month, but today I have butterflies since I actually have to pack; clothes, school supplies, sheets, towels, etc…..just like preparing to leave for Stanford, something I did in the Fall of 1994.  It’s been over 16 years since I have had to experience this mix of excitement, fear and dread.  However, at 18 years old, I knew that leaving Detroit and moving to Palo Alto was the right thing for me.  I knew without a doubt that the decision I had made filling out my Stanford application was one of the most important things I ever would do in my life.

Right now, I am not so sure about culinary school.  Don’t get me wrong, applying to the CIA was not a mistake nor am I backing out.  I just lack the myopic vision of the world that my 18-year-old self could summon.  Now at 34, heading to school seems like a luxury looking at the sacrifices that The Partner is making to ensure minimal debt on my end.  I feel selfish looking at what my tuition money could do for my mother and family members.  I second guess what my career trajectory will be upon graduation in two years.  Will I be able to handle the physical aspects of the programs? 

I am chalking this up to first day jitters and a lingering bloodline of guilt that runs deep in my family.  One of the things I need to work on is self-confidence and my need to see things as black or white.  I tend to rule my life in a fairly linear way….this or that.  Yes or no.  Left or right.  While I love grey as a color, as an aspect of my personal life, I don’t like it.  I think it’s due to years of uncertainty while growing up; bouncing between my Grandmother’s home, the new love nest built by my Mom and my Step-Dad and finally my Father’s abode in Detroit.  I know many children who have moved multiple times in their young lives and turned out fine.  For me, the moves were more gut-wrenching…they produced terror, night sweats and anxiety attacks that I still deal with to this day.  Having certainty was calming to me.  It’s why I love schedules, plans, organization and those people who do it well. 

Right now, I am out of my comfort zone.  I got through this discomfort when I was 18 by focusing on the idea that I had to make a change.  It was leave or die.  And while the situation wasn’t that dire, I believed this notion so strongly that it was easy to convince myself moving across the country was a smart thing to do.  I don’t know if I can do the same faux Jedi mind tricks this time around to calm myself down. 

So for now, I am going to continue picking out my clothes and neatly folding them into piles.  I am going to continue piling my school supplies into neat little stacks.  And I am going to try my damnest not to freak out at what tomorrow has in store.

Wish me luck…..everything is about to change.


5 thoughts on “And Doubt Rears Its Ugly Head……

  1. You will be fine….jitters are normal, use that trepidation to propel you to success….obviously this is a field you are skilled and interested in, so try to relax. Best wishes on your success!!! Adia

  2. As someone who spent four and a half years back in school, I’m familiar with all of those feelings: excitement, anxiety, guilt… Paul and I are excited for you and we look forward to hearing about your adventures in Saint Helena. Just remember, I will be basically next door.

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