Banana Slugs, Graduation, and Why I’m Not Blogging Today

Really, I’m not. I wrote this a few days ago and scheduled it, knowing I’d be a little busy on my usual blogging day…

…watching my youngest son graduate from college.


I know, he’s changed a little since then. But it still feels like that.

Casey’s graduating from UC Santa Cruz, home of the Fighting Banana Slugs. Yup.

There are some pretty wild college mascots out there.I’ve heard of the Pomona Sage Hens (cheer: CHIRP!), and who could forget The Evergreen State College Geoducks? (For those of you non-northwesterner, a geoduck is a large, tasty clam–pronounced, for some reason, “gooeyduck.”)

(orig. image courtesy

(orig. image courtesy

In honor of college graduates worldwide…what’s the weirdest mascot you know of? Please share!

Oh, Life Crossroads, Why Are You Such a Terrifying Blessing?

Does this look familiar?

(orig. image courtesy

(orig. image courtesy

Been there. More than a few times. You?

Having just spent a Thanksgiving holiday with Son #1, aged 23 and working in his first full-time, post-college job, while Son #2, aged 21, spent the same holiday 3,000 miles away with cousins since he’s studying on the east coast this semester...let’s just say I’ve been thinking a good deal about those delightful life crossroads.

Son #1 is happy. Loves his job. But people are already asking him, “What’s next? Gonna stick with that? Thinking about grad school? What do you want to BE when you grow up?”

Son #2 has it worse. About to graduate in spring of next year, he’ll soon face that dreaded question, “So…?” (I’ll let you fill in the blanks.)

Thing is, even though I’m the same age as a pack of cards (without the jokers, thank you very much), I can totally relate to the whole transition thing. Walking away from my teaching job was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I’ve ever done.

It wasn’t even because of finances. I’m lucky enough to be married to someone with a superb retirement plan, so we knew we could afford for me to take a huge, ginormous pay cut. It was the IDENTITY.

If I’m not a teacher anymore…what AM I?

Watching my kids begin that first, gradual accumulation of job-related identity, I wonder: which is the greater blessing: to be able to define ourselves through our work, or to be able to shake off those identities and see what’s underneath?

I sure know which one is scarier. But I think, given what we find beneath those layers accrued from years of work, it may also be the greater blessing, in the end.

What do you think? How many major job changes have you been through? Do you think the rewards are worth the terror? Let me hear!