My CMU years and redeeming myself

I know full well that everybody makes mistakes, that no one gets a free pass in life. I’m sure my family and friends think I’m being too hard on myself.

However, I firmly believe I have to redeem myself for me not turning out like I hoped I would growing up, meaning that I have a well-paying job, a family of my own, and get to take lots of nice vacations. Of course, that’s not how my life turned out! I readily admit that I get jealous when I see Facebook posts of couples who are seemingly happy together, as well as folks who get to take nice vacations, and pay too much attention to them and wonder to myself, “Why can’t I have that?”

I know that in a previous post, I touched upon how difficult my social life was in elementary school and high school. What I haven’t talked about previously was how difficult social life was for me even when I went to college at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Keep in mind that I lived a pretty sheltered life growing up. I went to Catholic elementary school and Catholic high school, and a strong emphasis was placed on having strong morals and values, both in school and at home. 

I was not prepared for the culture shock I would experience my freshman year at CMU! All three of my roommates were heavily into partying and drinking, and I would often find myself alone in my residence hall room at Larzelere Hall at CMU during weekends. One of my roommates thought he was all that with the women, and he seemingly brought home a different one to our dorm room each night. I wanted to speak up, but as I alluded to in a previous post, I didn’t know how to, because of the Asperger’s syndrome that I’ve dealt with my entire life (of course, I didn’t know what Asperger’s syndrome was at the time!) I eventually requested and was granted a transfer to a different room within Larzelere for the second semester of my freshman year.

Looking back, I wish I had a stronger sense of who I was, and what I had to offer the world, when I was a student at CMU. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have majored in psychology. I heard that you had to get at least a Master’s degree to go anywhere in that field, and I wasn’t prepared to do that. Keep in mind that I was the “guinea pig” in my immediate family as far as going to college (I was the first one to graduate from college; my sisters Amy and Jenny have since graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, MI). Still, I wish I would have been more discerning and asked more questions before deciding on a major. Again, I think it was a combination of Asperger’s and me not having the proper life experience that prevented me from making a better decision for myself.

Having said that, I enjoyed myself a great deal at CMU after my freshman year. My favorite CMU experiences while I was a student there would unquestionably be the two times that the CMU football team defeated the Michigan State Spartans. CMU shocked the 18th-ranked Spartans, 20-3, in 1991, and just to show it was no fluke, the Chippewas again defeated the Spartans 24-20 in 1992. Clearly, the Spartans did not respect the Chippewas in either year in their preparations for the game. Michigan State had seemingly every advantage over Central Michigan: more money, better facilities, bigger name recruits, larger fan base, etc. However, the Chippewas had the advantage in one key area: coaching. Longtime CMU head football coach Herb Deromedi (now in the College Football Hall of Fame) clearly outclassed and outcoached MSU coach George Perles. If I remember correctly, Coach Deromedi’s main motivational message to his team in preparation for facing MSU was that “Michigan State didn’t want you.”  The result of that motivational message was quite evident!

I’m sure my MSU friends weren’t too thrilled reading that last paragraph! However, as a proud CMU alumnus, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t bring it up! Plus, you guys would do the same thing if the roles were reversed, and if you say otherwise, then you’re kidding yourselves!

While I had plenty of good memories at CMU, I still battled loneliness and awkwardness on a daily basis. I had a couple of instances of unrequited love when I was a student at CMU. Shortly after one student gave me the old “we can just be friends” deal, she began parading around the hall with her new boyfriend. You can imagine how I felt about that!

That leads me to today, and why I feel the need to redeem myself for all of the social struggles I’ve experienced in my life. Of course, I view redemption in terms of dating, having a girlfriend, and eventually a spouse. I don’t think God views redemption for me in that same light! I just hope that if the Lord doesn’t provide me with a spouse in this life, then I will at least have plenty of friends to ease that burden. I don’t want to die alone! I recently signed up for eHarmony.com and completed my profile. It’s still very early in the process, but I hope that at 44, it’s not too late for me to find a mate!

Because of all the negative experiences I’ve had regarding dating, I tend to view the whole process as superficial. I’d use stronger language, but I want to keep this a PG-rated blog! I’m sure it’s not a superficial process by any means, but I think you can understand where I am coming from! I hope time proves me wrong!

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