Life is funny sometimes. My life tends to be more ironic that average. I don’t know if it’s simply because I write everything down so I notice it, or it’s some sort of divine cosmic joke. Either way… here we are.
I’m a little bit sad as my current school term draws to a close. All of my instructors have been wonderful so far, but one of them really sticks out this term and I wish he could teach everything. He technically could. He has the experience and the knowledge to teach every class I need for my degree, but unfortunately that’s not how it works.
I kind of understand how people think the stories of my life are embellished or made up after getting randomly selected for my business class. Out of all the instructors scattered hither and yon across the United States and all the online universities I could have enrolled in and I had to wind up with a man I respectfully called Lord Business. Especially on the heels of my massive healing revelation at the end of the Summer.
Back in October as I was getting ready to begin my latest term in school, Hubs, Champ and I visited the National Museum of the Air Force to see “Champ’s” plane the SR-71 Blackbird. I shared that Champ was named after a pilot I knew once upon a time, and that I often regretted never taking advantage of the opportunity to glean some of the boat loads of wisdom the pilot had to offer. If there was one regret I had about choices I made in my naivety it was dismissing him and his quiet attempts to help me grow both personally and professionally.
Of course the story itself is a bit more complex than that basic overview, but for time’s sake: that’s all you need to know. lol. I had an opportunity and I messed it up. I recently came to terms with this and finally accepted the loss fairly recently.
Those opportunities weren’t meant for me and I shouldn’t mope around wishing things were different. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and jumped back into school. I didn’t learn anything about my instructors until the first day of class, but as I sat down to my lecture on day one I got a big surprise. That moment, among many others during the past term, makes me super thankful that I’m sitting behind a computer screen during these lectures. So the class logs in and we all give our customary hellos in the chat window. Lord Business comes on and makes sure we can all hear and see the slides for the presentation then he launches into his introduction: he was originally from Central Ohio, graduated from OSU with a bachelors in business, signed up for the ROTC in college because Vietnam was going on, ended up serving 22 years in the Air Force, retired in 87 after teaching several years at the National War College and decided that he really liked teaching so he stayed in academia.
Somewhere along the line he gained a few masters degrees, and a doctorate. Here he goes delivering all these impressive accomplishments then he’s all like: “you can call me Jim” and at that point I literally laughed out loud and mumbled at my computer: “uh… no, Sir. I most certainly can NOT ‘just call you Jim’!” Which is where he earned the title: Lord Business. His hard work deserved something more than just “Doctor Such-and-Such” but I didn’t know how to combine doctor, his retired rank, and everything else so… Lord Business was born.
And then my amusement turned to emotional tears. Almost literally as soon as I accepted the lost opportunities I was grieving from my past, I was blindsided out of left field with another. It wasn’t exactly an identical opportunity, but it’s damn near close. Close enough that I had to sit down after class and just go: “huh.” Before another fit of laughter at the irony of it all.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed learning with Lord Business. I loved listening to his anecdotes, and his no non-sense teaching style. I REALLY appreciated how punctual he was with everything (yay military) and I appreciated how his assignments were challenging but not overwhelming and the expectations were clearly defined immediately. It made scheduling my homework and reading time SO MUCH EASIER.
I also had to giggle at the “civilian” kids who had no idea what to do with him and his militarisms. “Let’s see… how to contact me. The best way is via email. I’ll always respond within 48hrs. If I don’t respond in 48hrs I’m either traveling or, well I’m 80 so I might be dead. The University will let you know.” straight off the cuff as serious as a stone. I, along with the other kids either in the military or with military backgrounds, chuckled. The civilian kids were horrified. “Late policy? Get your pens ready, you’ll need to note this. My late policy: don’t be!” Very similar reaction. Smiles from the military kids and horror from the civilian kids.
The entire class was filled with tiny moments like that dispersed in the wonderful mishmash of our university curriculum, notes of military history (really neat insight into the Vietnam War I didn’t get from history books or my relatives who served) and examples left over from his previous teaching experiences. The man is an encyclopedia of experiences and general knowledge. I could have sat and listened to him lecture on various leadership topics, business ethics, strategy and conflict resolution for days soaking up every bit of it. I wasn’t really looking for a second chance to glean some of the wisdom I missed in my youth, but boy I got it and I wasn’t about to let it slip out of my grasp again.
I guess, in a way, ending the year with Lord Business is a rather fitting end to the mess of 2020. It kind of brought my personal journey to a nice close. I don’t know what it was about 2020 that sent me off down that avenue, but… in the end I’m really glad I went that way. I’m looking forward to continuing my studies next year and seeing what other new and exciting opportunities await on the other side.
After almost 34 years of being the outcast, shunned for my honesty and direct communication I have finally found “my people” in academia. I can ask a million questions and not be labeled as “rude” and I can share information without being “condescending”. I love school. I wish it wasn’t so damn expensive. I’d never leave lol.
Happy holidays everyone! Wishing peace, health and happiness to you all through next year and beyond.