Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Life has been quite the whirlwind this semester.
We got married.
Brian became a business owner.
I took a full schedule of classes with a very heavy workload.
A few weeks ago, I began planning out my schedule for spring semester so I could register for classes. I met with my adviser. We sat down and planned out the rest of my college life and the way we looked at it, I would graduate next December, about a year from right now, if I kept going at the rate I've been going at. Then she started rambling on about how I would need to start getting to work on my graduation package in January and a bunch of other things I just stopped listening to because I had a slight freak out moment. I suddenly realized I didn't think I was ready to be done with school that soon. I realized I didn't know so much what I wanted to do with the rest of my life after all. I've always been a student. Basically my whole life. And I like the idea of being able to call myself a student until I figure out another title for myself.
Because even though I love my major, I don't know if I really want to work for a news station. It sounds hard. And I know life isn't all about having fun, it's meant to be hard, but I don't know if I want the kind of hard that comes with being in the business of the media. I don't want to work on all major holidays. I don't want to work through ridiculous hours of the night. I don't want to be stressed out of my mind all the time. I don't want to constantly worry about stepping on someone's toes.
But then again, it could be really fun.
But maybe there is something else I'm meant to do?
I know I want to do something meaningful with my life. I want to work. If only for a little while. I just am not completely sure what. Not quite yet. And although I want to work, I want something that is flexible enough that I can take part in things that are truly important.
When I came home from meeting with my adviser, I felt as if my head was spinning, fogged with confusion. I started going through all the classes I'd have next semester and realized I'd probably be even busier than I have been this fall. Thinking that made me sick. Like clammy-hands-run-to-the-toilet sick. So Brian sat me down and told me to SLOW DOWN. He asked me what the benefits would be of graduating a semester early any ways. I answered with, "I can start applying for jobs sooner." But then Brian brought up the point that I wasn't even sure what I wanted those jobs to be yet. So he suggested I slow down, have some fun, enjoy school again, and graduate in the spring of 2013. I really think he just wants us to graduate together ;). So I then called my mom and got her advice. She thought the same thing as Brian. So I trusted two of my most favorite people and I'm now taking a light load next semester. Well, light credit wise. The classes will still be vigorous. But I'll actually have time to enjoy them now. And at the moment, I'm signed up to take African Dance. That should be interesting.
I think I have made the right decision by slowing down. It's time for me to work on being a better wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I'm ready to cook Brian dinner for once, since he usually ends up making it or at least helping me with it. I'm ready to find time for the people I care about instead of telling them I always have to do more homework.
The other day, I was going through one of my little quote books and I found something I must have written down years ago for this specific moment in my life. It was part of a speech by First Lady Barbara Bush when she spoke at the graduation ceremony of Wellesley College. Wellesley College is a liberal arts school for women and a lot of these women are extreme feminists. Students were outraged that Barbara Bush had been invited to speak, saying that she did not represent the type of career woman they wanted to become, that she hadn't done anything besides marry the president and devote her life to being a mother. This is an excerpt from Mrs. Bush's speech and it gave me chills the other morning as I reread it:
"Early on I made a choice which I hope you make as well. Whether you are talking about education, career or service, you are talking about life . . .and life really must have joy. One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life . . . to marry George Bush . . . is because he made me laugh. It's true, sometimes we've laughed through our tears . . . but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds. Find the joy in life . . .
Another choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections. For several years, you've had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work, and, of course, that's true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer, or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections . . . with spouses, children, friends . . . are the most important investments you will ever make. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, a parent."
What a wise woman. And she is so right. I doubt when I'm old and grey, sitting at the window in my rocking chair, waiting for death to take me, I'll be thinking of the tests I could have scored higher on or the money I could have earned more of.
I'll probably regret all the times I didn't slow down to kiss Brian an extra time and tell him how much I love him. I'll probably regret that I didn't visit my parents more. I'll probably regret the times I didn't call up that friend to see how she was doing. I'll probably regret all the missed opportunities at new friendships, the times I could have laughed with loved ones, the moments I missed because I was too wrapped up in 'being busy'.
Really, what could be a greater accomplishment at the end of life than to say, "I might have not been an outstanding doctor, an outstanding reporter, or an outstanding entrepreneur . . . but I was an outstanding human being."
I'm ready to work on becoming outstanding, and in the mean time, maybe I'll figure out something else I'd like to do too.