RAY Ad­di­son’s Real life

Adult ed­u­ca­tion? my Wife is Far braver than me…

Good (UAE) - - CONTENTS -

Ray con­sid­ers a re­turn to ed­u­ca­tion

I think some­thing must be wrong with my brain… de­spite hav­ing plenty on my plate, for some rea­son i have a self-de­struc­tive urge to add quite a lot more.

Sit­ting at my desk, with dead­lines ham­mer­ing against my head like Mcgre­gor v May­weather, i’ve found my­self brows­ing web­sites, check­ing out diplo­mas, de­grees and other higher learn­ing op­tions, with a view to gain­ing a new qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

And al­though this sounds like a fairly be­nign thing to do, it would ac­tu­ally be in­cred­i­bly dumb for two main rea­sons. Firstly, i don’t need it, and sec­ondly, i hated earn­ing the first one. So why is my own brain try­ing to sab­o­tage me?

Well, firstly, i’m get­ting on a bit… At 38, i can hear the hands of time tick tick­ing to­wards my 40th birth­day, send­ing a shiver down my spine. now i’m look­ing around won­der­ing, “is this it?”, but in­stead of girls and cars i’m at­tracted to stress and debt.

So what does my wife think of all this non­sense? Ac­tu­ally, she couldn’t be more sup­port­ive, de­spite her own che­quered his­tory with adult ed­u­ca­tion. Emma and i have fairly dif­fer­ent ed­u­ca­tional back­grounds and while it was al­ways as­sumed that i would go to univer­sity, Emma’s fam­ily barely even men­tioned it. And al­though she didn’t go on to higher ed­u­ca­tion the first time around, she has since thrown her­self into a num­ber of cour­ses, both out of ne­ces­sity and as a way of ‘im­prov­ing’ her­self.

Adult classes were also a way for Emma to ex­pand her so­cial cir­cle. Years be­fore she met me, one woman kept try­ing to set her up on blind dates with her male friends, which is how Emma found her­self stand­ing in the pour­ing rain for over an hour wait­ing for some­one called Harry who played the gui­tar in a book­store. luck­ily, Harry even­tu­ally ar­rived on his bi­cy­cle and ‘drove’ Emma to the cinema on his han­dle­bars.

Along with a sparkling so­cial life, adult ed­u­ca­tion gave Emma an in­sight into the types of peo­ple who were driven to im­prove them­selves. They were peo­ple whose ed­u­ca­tion had at some point gone wrong, got way­laid or sim­ply been for­got­ten, and now they were back for a sec­ond at­tempt.

There were no lawyers here, no teach­ers and no doc­tors. in­stead there were ad­min­is­tra­tors, care work­ers and clean­ers. They were the class clowns and school dropouts forced to learn how to wax in the dark­est cor­ners of the night in ex­change for a tan­ta­lis­ing glimpse of the ex­cit­ing new life their freshly ac­quired skills would bring them.

And how­ever elu­sive those dreams may ac­tu­ally have proved, at least they were giv­ing it a go. Each ma­ture stu­dent was stand­ing strong, ig­nor­ing the fact the class­room had tra­di­tion­ally been their neme­sis, swal­low­ing the anx­i­ety of be­ing laughed at for an­swer­ing a ques­tion wrongly and push­ing off the in­vis­i­ble dunce’s cap to give it one last shot. like the epony­mous hero of 1983 film clas­sic Ed­u­cat­ingrita once said, “i don’t want to be funny, charm­ing and de­light­ful. i wanna talk se­ri­ous with the rest of you. i don’t wanna come to your house to play the court jester.”

That’s cer­tainly what pushed Emma to re­turn to ed­u­ca­tion. like Rita, she wanted to talk con­fi­dently and knowl­edge­ably, to feel she had some­thing to of­fer the world.

So was it worth it? Well, yes and no. The older my wife gets the less she cares about what oth­ers think of her. She’s re­alised that, no mat­ter our qual­i­fi­ca­tions, we’re all just fum­bling along no bet­ter or worse than any­one else. But that’s also why she cham­pi­ons all of the Ri­tas out there – and will cham­pion me too, should i de­cide i want her to.

“THEIR DREAMS MAY PROVE ELU­SIVE, BUT AT LEAST THEY ARE GIV­ING IT A GO”

Ray Ad­di­son is a broad­caster, co­me­dian and writer, who can be found at rayad­dis­on­live.com

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