Quarterlife+


I finally decided on a topic!

Posted in Family,Writing by Ashley Franklin on October 26, 2015
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To know me is to know that I am horribly indecisive. I ended up with two solid contenders for NaNoWriMo. I had one outlined and another in a pretty solid concept stage. Yeah…I”m not going with either of them. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to dive right into them, but one requires a bit of word building that I don’t want to rush. I keep changing my mind about the point of view that I want to use for the other one.

So, what’s my final decision? I”m actually going to write a parenting book. Shocker! Speaking of parenting, I hear the sound of someone trying to force himself awake. He must sense that it’s been quiet in the house for too long. On that note, more on this parenting book later!

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Life after fireworks: Living in the lackluster

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on July 5, 2015
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Ah, fireworks! I’m sure that many of you can still see their vivid colors and feel the sound of their explosions if you close your eyes and steady yourselves. I didn’t watch any fireworks yesterday. They leave me with a weird feeling–an emptiness if you will. Fireworks displays are so over-the-top. They’re captivating. They engulf you. They command the stillness that comes with undivided attention yet set emotions free to run wild.

Then they’re over. Just like that, they’re over. The sky is still. Nightlife is given back its voice. You are an individual again and not a part of a collective. You’re no longer experiencing the same sense of awe.

For me, that’s how life works. We have these milestones-birth, graduation, birthdays, marriage, etc.–and then we have all of the days of everyday living in between.

Just recently, I’ve had to remind myself of the importance of the in between days. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those fireworks days, and I was starting to feel kind of cruddy. I have realized that it’s the in between days that have allowed me to have the fireworks. Instead of thinking of these days as low points or lackluster, I should be thinking of them as days of character building. So, I will. How about you?

Dear Albright College

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on June 28, 2015
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Dear Albright College,

Yes, I know it has been quite some time since I’ve strolled through your campus. Still, you’ve been on my mind quite a bit lately. That tends to happen when you’re seeking employment. Am I unemployed? No. Am I underemployed? Perhaps, but that’s neither here nor there. What I want to talk about is us.

As with any past relationship, I cannot discredit the benefit of hindsight. My thoughts of you from when I attended at the tender age of 17 until now are vastly different. To be honest, I feel different about you now than I did even a year ago. Has being 30 given me a new perspective? It has on a few things, actually. You indoctrinated me with the concept of possessing a different way of thinking. That is the path that you set me on, and I have yet to diverge.

Having changed my degree focus an ungodly amount of times, I quickly realized there was no way I could afford to stay in our relationship beyond the time we’d mutually agreed upon. It would have been unhealthy, unwise, and under no circumstances economically possible. To the surprise of many, even myself, I cranked out enough credits for an English degree and nearly a minor in Women’s Studies (pure happenstance).

I thought that you would like to know that I’ve been okay since our breakup. I’ve heard about you, and I know that you’ve been flourishing. You’re not the only one who has grown. You see, I did learn a great deal from you. I received my M.A. and believed that I was headed on to a Ph.D. Imagine, I would one day be a colleague of the fine professors who helped me grow as an academic and a person. This was thrilling to me until I reached the final months of my 2-year Master’s program and realized I couldn’t care less. That different way of thinking came back to bite me in the butt. I suddenly had no desire to turn into my peers-rapidly approaching 30 having no life experience outside of cranking out papers and grades. I at least wanted to have one real non-academic job under my belt.

You gave me the courage to walk away despite hearing that “We need more Black academics.” We also need more people who don’t hate what they’re doing everyday.

What did I do? I really thought out of the box. I started working at a daycare. I wasn’t even sure if I liked kids! There I met some of the nicest people. They were adults who had lived outside of academia. They were real life. They were what I was missing. I miss them, though I am still in contact with a couple of them. Did I apply to Ph.D. programs? Yes–in another field. Did I get in? Yes. Did I go? No. Another lesson that I learned from you was a financial one: Don’t do things you can’t afford.

As much as I love you for training me to be a critical thinker, oh how I wish someone had helped me to think critically when I took out $30,000 in loans from Sallie Mae. When I sat in the Student Accounts Office, desperate not to abandon my academic journey, why didn’t someone say that I was making a huge mistake? Why didn’t someone tell me that just because I could take out those loans without a co-signer didn’t mean that I should? Why didn’t someone level with me once I did stay with a major in the humanities and tell me that I could get an English degree anywhere? Instead of the shock that I had been approved, why not tell me to immediately give those funds back and make a smarter decision that would benefit me later in life. It would’ve hurt to hear, but it wouldn’t have hurt nearly as bad as my current monthly payments to Sallie Mae–I’m sorry, Navient.

The irony is that if I don’t somehow make it big as a writer, I’ll go to my grave with these debts. Do I blame you? No. While you did have a part in it, as we were in this together, I was the one who signed on the dotted line. I was young and in love with the idea of all that you could offer.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to think my way into a better economic situation. It’s funny. That’s actually the mindset of most people nowadays. Many of us yearn for economic stability. Time will tell how many of us actually achieve it. That’s why I’m counting on you, Albright education, to help me to stand out from the pack. That is what you do owe me.

Love Always,

Ashley

WAHM (yet another questionable life choice)

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on March 30, 2015
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I love my kids. I love working from my home. In a perfect world, nothing could be more brilliant than putting together two things that you love. I must have forgotten that I live in the real (imperfect) world because HONEY, this is ROUGH!

There are some days when I can’t get enough of PBS and watching my kids run around and learn the world around them.Then there are those other days–the ones when I’d rather scrape off my skin with a spork than watch PBS and my kids are running around so fast that they’re almost in slow motion. Those are the days that are becoming more frequent. That’s the funny thing with kids. They get faster and faster. I’m getting slower. They’re getting smarter, and I’m pretty sure I’ve nearly plateaued. (It’s all about repackaging the smarts from here on out, my friend!)

Today, as my toddler and baby were having a raspberry blowing contest (Thanks for the initial lesson, Elmo!), it occurred to me that there is a reason why there is a take your child to work day and not take your child to work year after year after year after year after…

You get the point. There are days that WAHM might as well stand for What about harpooning myself? The idea of simultaneously raising children and working from the same location seems like it sprang from the same basket of horrid maybeit’spossiblebutwhyonearthwouldyou ideas.

Do I clean the house or clean the kids? Didn’t I just feed you? Whoops, you can’t eat that without teeth. Not in the house! Take that back outside! Where are your socks disappearing to? Your brother is not a horse! Stop yelling! Oh, that’s me? Stop making me yell. 

And then it happens. The baby takes three steps–two more than he has ever taken at a time. My toddler runs up to me with a block and announces he has the letter M.

“M is for monkey!”

It’s also for maybe. Maybe this is what makes it worthwhile. Maybe this is why so many families sacrifice and have one parent stay at home.

Since when are life choices easy and foolproof? I should’ve known better. Did I make the right choice? At the end of the day, no matter how exhausted I am, I can think back to something that my kids did during the day that made me smile. When I smile again, I’m always reassured.