Thursday, July 1, 2010

Whod've Thunk it. Did You Know I'm Brave?

I've pretty much had a crappy week at work and in general. I feel as though I'm standing on a precipice and not sure if I'll soon be plunging headlong into a river that may tumble me head over feet or if I'll find a trail full of switchbacks down the same mountain, with twists and turns with the same eventual goal, but at a more moderate pace. I have only one year left of school and then I'm done. Friends ask if I'll be going on to get my PhD, but I really think that after this year I'm done. I don't see any need to work toward a doctorate since I no longer have a real desire to teach at a college, and that's essentially what a PhD would lead me toward (sorry Mom, looks like you're going to have to get a doctor into the family in another way -- marriage).

As I've begun to ponder what I'll be doing or where I'll be headed in about 10 months, I'm afraid I won't be brave enough to do what is necessary or make the right choice on my life's obscured path. I fear that when last seconds tick off the game clock that I won't beat the buzzer and just wind up throwing a Hail Mary shot at the basket...all to no avail. At this point I just want to say I'm so thankful for friends. As I voiced these concerns with a couple of them, their perspectives and viewpoints of life helped me to see myself from a different angle.

They both talked about how brave they consider me. One stated she thought that, if anything, I push the envelope. Examples both of them used were when I quit a reliable and secure job I loved to go back and complete my undergraduate degree, at the age of 29. When I decided I wanted to go back to Alaska and experience it as an adult, I decided to find a job online, move to a place where I knew no one, and work for five months with complete strangers and in an unfamiliar, but beautiful environment (as you can see from the picture at left). As I was faced with life after college upon my pending graduation from BYU-I, I decided Graduate School was for me and applied at six universities. After acceptance into all of them, the decision making process got harder as I had to decide which, of the six I had already deemed good programs, was the best for me. Ultimately the University of Idaho in Moscow won because it afforded me the opportunity to teach while taking classes, a closer proximity to friends and family, and a return back to an area I loved living in earlier near Lewiston and Clarkston.

To them, each of these direction changing decisions in my life's path were moments when I was brave. I guess they could be perceived as brave, but with each I was certain the decision I made was the best one. Because of my certainty and the seeming ease with which all of my plans fell into place, I'd never really considered them hard and, in fact, often felt I was taking the easy way out. When you're sure of something, there is no need to fear, and that's how I've felt. They always felt more like no-brainers than decisions.

Now, as I have no idea where my life is going, I'm filled with fear. I trust that I will again be presented with opportunities and decisions to be made, and I hope I'll have to choose between a number of good choices, just have to make the choice that is best for me, but I'm still afraid. I know that if I make a wrong decision I can change directions again, but I fear for the time that I may have lost due to poor decisions.

Right now this is all a viscious cycle of self-doubt and unsubstantiated fears. I hope that, when the times comes to decide what my life will be like after college, I will make the right one. Some may say, "Don't worry about it right now. You still have a whole year of school to get through." Yes, that's true, but I also don't want to spend too much time in the pocket and get sacked from my blind spot ( how I'm inserting all these sports metaphors?).

I guess this is just one of those instances where patience really comes into play. I can only plan so much before life begins to dismantle and toy with my seemingly concrete path. Unexpected weeds and cracks alter and change a path as time goes by, and sometimes, the course that was once paved and easy to travel, has become something different altogether.

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