“More than anything else,” Tom told me, “more than any of the issues we’ve had living together or the little argument, I’m worried that he won’t be prepared when he goes back to school.”
“I hear that,” I say. “It’s freaks me out as well.”
“Going back to school?”
“No, going back to anything I’ve been away from for a while.”
Tom has a point. Nick is intelligent and talented, but he’s got a crappy day job that doesn’t challenge him. When he returns to school, who knows what he will have lost or gained in the year off. From here, though, it doesn’t look promising.
I went through the same thing when I was taking time off from school, working night security or at the pet store or waiting tables. None of those jobs were truly fulfilling. I did them for a menial wage, solely to make ends meet while I waited for in-state tuition status to kick in. And then, as soon as I could, I leapt back into school full force.
But I wasn’t an engineer or a scientist. If I had been, my transition back to school might not have gone so smoothly. Who knows if I could’ve taken a year off of math and mechanics and come back with no problems. I didn’t need to remember equations or understand circuitry. Most of my college education was still ahead of me.
Nick, on the other hand, is more than halfway done, and will be dropped right into the midst of his curriculum. I hope it goes well for him. I’m sure it won’t be the last time he has time away.
The thought of going back to work scares me. I know it’ll be fine, but there’s tremors of fear that glide through my bones every time I think about stepping behind the controls of a piece of equipment I haven’t touched in over a year. It’s a daunting thought that I could screw up and destroy any chance of working in television again; that I might make a mistake that would close doors I had previously thrown wide open as if they weren’t even there.
During my time away from the TV trucks and the cameras and the editing room, technology has progressed, the business as changed, and I’ve happily thrown myself into little projects writing, traveling, and doing everything but working. I don’t know if it’ll be as easily picked up as it was before or if I’ve lost my touch.
When I was in school, I was at the top of my game. I could single handedly turn a group project from mediocre to great. I could perform any task I was asked with flair and panache. Most of all, I never worried or fretted.
So what’s changed? I’m no less talented or intelligent, and I’m in better shape than I have been in years. And yet I’m afraid that’s not enough anymore.
I’ve lost something intangible and invaluable. I’m not sure anything but getting back to work and succeeding will be enough.
For a man who’s accused of having a huge ego, I seem to lack exactly the confidence in myself I need.