I love New Year's Day. It always feels like a new beginning to me. A fresh start. A blank page waiting to be filled with the story of the coming days.
This year the holidays have been rough for me physically. Spent a lot of time in bed with headaches or overall body aches so severe that it felt like I had a bad case of the flu. Despite it all, I was able to get together with family for the annual gatherings and I was able to play my harp for the special services at my church.
I stayed up late New Year's Eve, thinking about this coming year and dreaming big dreams of what all I hope to accomplish in it. I am excited and feel like I have a purpose again. There for awhile I was feeling a bit lost. I had made some changes but wasn't sure what my next step should be. I had started taking some online courses that are free. One is for journalism. I wanted to improve my writing and have thought about maybe trying to get some freelance work that would use that skill. I'm not really interested in working for any news media. I also am taking a course on using computers - a basic IT course. What I know about computers is basically what I've just picked up on my own. Some of the jobs I've looked into require some computer knowledge, so thought this course would help with that. I am enjoying the courses, but I still didn't feel like I knew what I really wanted to do with my life.
One day I was browsing a website of a local college and saw that they have a program to become a certified Sign Language Interpreter. I didn't think too much of it and went on looking at the other courses. The next morning when I woke up I had one of those lightbulb moments, where you all of a sudden see something that has been right in front of you all along. I knew at that moment what I wanted to become - a Sign Language Interpreter!
This isn't something new for me. Back in 3rd or 4th grade they taught us the Sign Language alphabet and a few signs. I loved it and never forgot the alphabet. Then in my teen years I found a course on video with a book and spent that summer learning what I could from it. There was a deaf lady at a nursing home that I would visit regularly and I got to practice some with her. Then in my 20s I had two deaf friends that I spent a lot of time with and picked up a lot more signs from them. They starting coming the church I was attending at the time, and I would try to interpret the sermons and songs for them. I'm not sure that I did a very good job, but I think they were able to at least get an idea of what was being said. Life kept going and our ways parted and my signing days retreated to a thing of the past. At times I feel the urge to sign, especially when singing, but have forgotten a lot.
I really want to take the course (it's a 2 year course) and get my Associate's Degree while I'm at it. I am confident that I will do well and am so excited! There are so many different areas that need interpreters. I also have been leaning towards becoming a counselor, but maybe will focus on being able to interpret for those who need counseling. I can hardly wait to see how it will all work out. I am going in a few days to the college to talk with someone there about applying and figuring out how to pay for it. At the moment I am almost literally broke and the only income coming in is from teaching piano which isn't enough to live off of.
Along with the excitement and anticipation there are feelings of nervousness and some anxiety. I've never gone to college and was home schooled from 5th grade on up. I did get my GED this past summer and did well on it. I struggle with braving the unknown, going to a place I've never been before and talking with people that are strangers. I struggle with wondering what they will think of me as I am in my forties and still at home with my parents. I wonder how many men will be involved and how I will handle it if there are any. Will I have panic attacks? This is something I will be doing completely on my own. I won't have my sister or one of my parents with me. And yet I feel ready to take it all on and to face it with courage and determination. I know that I will make new friends as I get to know people and that eventually it will feel familiar.
I am dreaming big and with God's help I plan to make those dreams come true!