I never finished college that first time after high school.
I was in too big of a hurry to start my adventures in the world. So I quit in the middle of my sophomore year at UCLA and started my life.
Years later I returned. Married, with a career on the wane, and two kids now grown and off on their own adventures, I became the oldest coed in all my classes. Everyone thought I was the professor and they stopped being nice to me when they found out that I wasn’t. It was hard work and I started to question what the hell I was doing there. I had been in no hurry to go back, but I wanted to get a degree. I always felt a little bit less than all those college grads I kept meeting in my life. I thought that going back and finishing something that I had started might make me feel more confident, more sure of the knowledge that I’d already accumulated along the way. I never thought I’d learn anything new. I was an old dog incapable of learning new tricks.
But I was wrong.
I took a class in 2008 and learned some things I guess they forgot to teach me as I was growing up. It was unsettling, as learning some truths can always be. Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny? Sometimes the myths we’re taught as kids aren’t meant for adulthood.
The particular myth I was learning about there in that lecture hall in 2008 unsettled me and made me question so many other truths I had been taught along the way. We had to write a paper, and I struggled with what to write. Sometimes words just aren’t enough – film can do it better. So instead of writing an essay, I made this little film, “American Dreams.”
I wish I could say that ten years later this film has lost its meaning.
But it hasn’t.
In many ways it’s more meaningful now than ever before.
And it saddens me to write that.