Focus on Singles

If I Can Do It, So Can You!
By Charleen Earley

I love to inspire people everywhere I go and this article is no exception. You see, I was featured on the front cover of Linda Marden’s Christian Singles Network newspaper in her April-June 1998 issue. I was 34-years-old at the time. Single and ready to mingle.

Today I’m 57-years-old and still single, ready to mingle!

But my single status is not what I want to inspire you about. It’s more about what I’ve accomplished over the past 23 years. My main message here is – if I can do it, so can you.

You see, I’m a firm believer in that phrase, “You’re never to old to learn something new.” Honestly, I don’t care if you’re 90-years-old, you can still go after the things you want to accomplish.

I did.

When I was in my early 30s, I told my auntie that I wanted to earn my BA degree. By that point, I had a high school diploma and one AA degree in Liberal Arts under my belt, but I wanted to go higher – even though I was a divorced mom.

I didn’t even know what exactly I wanted to study.

I whined to my auntie, giving her the excuse of “At this rate, going to college part-time after work, I’m going to be 40 by the time I earn my BA degree!”

She looked at me and said, “Well, would you want to be 40 with a degree or without?” I had never looked at it from that perspective at all, and I immediately told her, “Lord willing I turn 40, I want to do it WITH a BA degree!”

So that’s how it all started. That, and also with the continued encouragement from my Los Medanos College professor Cindy McGrath – who guided me on how to earn a second AA degree, this one in journalism, transfer to California State University, East Bay for a BA degree in English – and ultimately a Masters degree at her alma mater, San Jose State University, in communications and journalism.

I graduated with my Masters degree in 2016, and while I’ve never flaunted that to anyone, I don’t even hang my degrees on my walls, but it’s allowed me to get a job teaching at the community college level, teaching none other than journalism and mass communications courses.

I introduce myself to my students, who are mostly in the 18-years-old category (one or two in my age each semester) that I’m the old teacher – even though I don’t think I look a day over 30.

I tell them how I have sat in their exact seats only 23-years-ago, and how I know what it’s like – only I had a child at that age, on top of working full time. They don’t believe me.

Really, if you have the desire, the will power and someone in your court that believes in you – you really CAN DO IT! You can go after those dreams and turn those dreams into a reality. It can be done.

I actually have some labels on my MacBook Pro that I look at every day, to encourage me when I lose confidence in myself. Phrases like, “Visualize what you want,” “You can if you think you can,” “I will find a way or make one,” and “You can hold it in your hands, if you can see it in your mind.”

Excuses are simply disguised fears keeping you from your future accomplishments. Start today. Start this very minute (after you finish reading this!), and begin researching what it is you want to accomplish in life.

It wasn’t an easy road – working full time, raising a son, going to school, doing the homework, studying, reading, writing and testing. But I have to say, it was all worth it. I love all that I do.

I’m a journalism teacher at Diablo Valley College and Butte College. I’m editor-in-chief at The Orinda News. I freelance writer for the East Bay Times. If you Google my name, the first 10 pages will be filled with my work. I’m not bragging, just sayin’! I even use my skills to create resumes for clients as a side hustle. Let’s just say that I’m a busy gal and grass doesn’t grow under my feet.

It might be why I’m still single, despite a 10-year-stint with a boyfriend, which ended a couple of years ago.

If there’s no one in your life who is saying it, I’m honored to be the one to tell you – that you CAN DO IT, whatever it is you want to accomplish, start TODAY!

Charleen Earley can be reached at

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