I’m the type of person that gets super excited about all sorts of things. Things like post it notes, frozen treats, new nail polish colors, and receiving things in the mail (bills and circulars excluded). Those are all rather small things, so imagine how unbelievably and indefinably excited I was to get the grad school acceptance letter (to read more about that day, go here).
Even as friends and relative strangers bemoan their graduate student status I remain entirely optimistic. Just this spring several girl friends graduated with advanced degrees and within the next year a couple more friends will be finishing up their programs. Yeah, they pretty much all hate school and are ready to be done, and here I am getting ready to start and so thrilled.
The truth is I know nothing about grad school. It was never an expectation for me to pursue even higher higher education. Undergrad, yes. Anything after that, no. So I have no idea what to expect. A few people have compared it to being online (in the Greek fraternity/sorority pledging sense not the world wide web) which is enough of a comparison to know that it ain’t gonna be pretty. Fulfilling and challenging, sure. A walk in the proverbial park, no. Unless by walk you mean blindfolded runnning at midnight in the freezing cold and by park you mean abandoned road in the middle of nowhere. At any rate I have a vague idea that I’m about to get my ass kicked and love it.
How long will this happy shiny optimistic feeling last? We shall see. But for now let me go on record and say I’m super excited about school, ecstatic even. Let me document this sparkly happy feeling today so in the future when I’m questioning this choice, wondering if I have lost my mind, I can remember that I’m exactly where I want to be.
I’d like to think of today’s Internet wandering as productive versus procrastination. I know what procrastination looks like – taking too many pictures of a camera shy cat or eating my way through the pantry and refrigerator – and this was nothing like that. And anyways the work I scheduled to complete had long been done AND I stumbled upon this article that totally explains how I ended up where I am now. And does so in a much more succinct and humorous way than I ever could.
Since quitting two pretty darn good jobs (albeit good in different ways) for seemingly unstable or at least unconventional pursuits, I find myself encouraging other people to do the same. Unhappy with your job? Quit. Rather be doing something else? Quit. But I guess being on the other side of the leap will do that to you. Purposely making radical life altering changes is scary having the possibility of full out failure and unremitting judgment by foes and family alike, but there are necessary risks that must be taken. Even if it doesn’t go as planned at least you’ll have done it and now you know versus always wondering What If. Trite, I know, but so true.
I feel the exact same way Dziura does about her failure when it comes to my own. I’m glad my perfectly planned life did not go as planned or else I wouldn’t be in this far more awesome place that I am in now. My plan was like a little To Do list and my only goal was to check off each item thinking it would bring fulfillment not realizing I’d be no closer to happiness. In fact, I’m guessing I’d be farther away since my only goal was the goal itself.
Before you get to thinking you can’t make the leap to pursue that seemingly impossible but always on your mind goal think about this – The only reason you’re in that somewhat ok, comfortable place you’re in now is because each day you make the decision to remain there. Hmmm . .come to think of it, that’s the same reason you’re in that sucky, life draining place you’re in. You make the choice to be where you are and you can just as easily make the choice to be somewhere else. The only difference is the little voice in your head supports where you are now but comes up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t change your circumstance. Listening to that voice will cause you to become paralyzed, always thinking about the Why Not when really you should be thinking about the How. Change your thoughts, change your world.
Ahhh. Spending another night partaking in my newest hobby – housing search on Craigslist. Let me begin by saying this is my first experience with The Craigslist. So far I haven’t secured any housing, but I have been in contact with several people who, from what I can tell, may actually be the Craigslist Killer or a close crazy relative.
I’m optimistic that I can find housing via my Craigslist search since a. other grad students tell me this is, in fact, how they found theirs, and b. I know countless people who post and purchase from this site. However, when someone asks me for my credit score or tells me the reason their apartment/condo/house is available for some super ridiculous amazing price is because they had to report to military duty in some other country/visit sick or dying family members in another country/got a job in another country it seems like a red flag to me. Or am I the crazy one? I can’t tell if this is normal communication or if I am in fact corresponding with people whose goal is to kill me or hijack my identity. *sigh
Well the good news is that I’m heading to the DMV a few short days from now so I’ll be able to actually do some proper housing searching. I’ll let you know how it goes! Until then, keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer!
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
4. Always do your best.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance simply do your best and you will avoid self judgment, self abuse, and regret.
An inspirational and potentially life changing book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the self limiting and self defeating beliefs that so many of us hold dear and offers an alternative life approach. Now if I could only remember and live out each of the Four Agreements on a daily basis. That’s my goal this week.
The type of life we live and the way we feel and experience each day begins with the quality and direction of our thoughts. And like anything else practice makes perfect. I first read The Four Agreements over 5 years ago and have since reread it just about every year but I have never made a conscious effort to incorporate it into my daily life until now. Like so many other inspirational and motivational texts, I read it and filed it away somewhere in a back corner of my mind only to be reminded of it when I have strayed so far away from its essential teachings.
In order to reach my week’s goal of remembering and living out the four agreements this is what I’m doing for the next seven, well now six, days:
- First thing in the a.m. – Read and meditate on The Four Agreements.
- In the middle of the day – Review how well I’ve kept The Four Agreements specifically thinking about any moments of confusion, misunderstanding, or heightened emotions and understanding how my wrong thinking (i.e. – assumptions or taking things personally) factored into this.
- Before I go to sleep – Review when I did well and when I did not so well and keep that in mind for the next day.
Here’s to day one of keeping The Four Agreements.
You know when you want something so bad and you’ve planned your entire life around it only to repeatedly never get it? Yep, that was me and grad school. Three years in a row I was rejected from schools across the country. It really does something to your ego. I have to admit I’m a pretty confident person. My awareness of my awesome-ness sometimes borders on narcissism so you can imagine what repeated rejection did to me.
After what are now vague memories of the beginning of my alcoholism I stumbled across this quote in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, “Everything is as it should be.” That did something for me. Yep, cheesy I know, but at that moment it was like something in my brain clicked. I wasn’t where I wanted to be but I was where I should be.
Just like that I let go of the ever so obviously misguided dream of becoming some super awesome amazing sociologist and instead decided to open my mind to the now endless possibilities. Ahhh. There was something so freeing about not having a plan. No plan meant anything could happen. Yes, as a Type A control freak this was a little unconventional but yet so exhilarating! Anything could happen. Something fun! Something amazing! Something I’d never imagined! Something totally different! Something like quitting my very stable with fantastic government benefits job to become the overworked and underappreciated Executive Assistant to the owner of a nightclub.
My family was concerned to say the least. It was all my father could do to feign support. Well-intentioned friends called to see if I had lost my damn mind. Too late. Temporary insanity or not the decision was made and a four year adventure into nightlife followed. Who needs boring grad school when you can get schooled by the city’s current reigning king of nightlife. More on my adventures in nightlife later; for now let’s get back to the best letter ever.
It was actually an email. Driving down Poplar, one of Memphis’ busiest streets, I checked my email only to read the best news ever. As I’m driving, reading, trying not to commit vehicular homicide, and also attempting to hold back an onslaught of what would surely be tears while I simultaneously laughed like a crazy person I realized that this is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for. These folks done messed around and let me in grad school. Ha! Best day ever.