Perspective Study

Snowflake. Small microscope kept outdoors. Sna...Image via Wikipedia
A close friend of mine is also a third-year law student, in a school that is much too far away.  But he recently started devoting some time to keeping in touch with his loved ones via letter-like emails.  I say letter-like because these emails are not quick, one-off, largely superficial communiques.  (In other words, nothing like the kinds of messages I send in my desperate attempt to keep in touch with the many people I have been lucky enough to know).  Instead, his emails are substantial, deep, and theme-ridden.  And beautiful.  They're a pleasure to read and two paragraphs from the last one I received struck me particularly hard:

a snow train blockade in Southern Minnesota, USA                                    Image via Wikipedia
Seems my life is covered in snow. Meteorologically speaking. This is the second time in as many weeks that we have had over seven inches of snow on the ground. I'm getting pretty sick of digging my life out of this goop. Guess it could be a metaphor for my life too. Snow is supposed to be pretty. Makes everything look better. But at the end of the day, its just heavy. And everywhere.

Take law school for instance. I'll be graduating with a J.D. in less than 4 months. I'll be a lawyer in 6 months. That used to mean something. More and more though, it just feels like an anchor around my neck. Everyone always tells me to count my blessings.
I have insane amounts of education. Good health, etc. etc. etc. But right now it just feels like snow.  Like something that's supposed to be pretty, but ends up just bogging everything down.
He's right, of course.  We are blessed with the curse of excessive potential.  I've come to learn more and more that the source of my discontent (which, in turn, is the source of my unfortunate personality modifications) is a disconnect between my expectations and my reality.  Recently I've realized that I react poorly to changed expectations, especially when the change comes from circumstances beyond my control.  I turn the blame inward, stress out about it for hours or days, and emerge at a whole new level of controlling/anxious/manipulative/depressed.

when expectations are reversedImage by psyberartist via Flickr
"Expectations Reversed"
Before I sound like someone you'd play a tiny fiddle for, let me explain that I know this "curse" is a blessing.  I might struggle for a few years, but I do have the tools succeed, eventually.  I have been railing against my own expectations because I feel entitled to have all the things that I want, but the reality is that I already have more than many people in this world ever will.  I don't belittle the work I've done; I deserve what I've managed to obtain for myself, both personally and professionally.  But while I may be entitled to earn my greatest hopes, I'm not entitled to have them handed to me.  At this moment, it's my job to make the choice that is right for us now, not the choice that I expected to be right when I started law school three years ago, or when I decided to go two years before that.

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Catching Up

New Year fireworks in Frankfurt am Main, GermanyImage via Wikipedia
New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday.  I love the spark of anticipation before midnight and the fresh feel of the new year just after the bell.  I love watching the world celebrate, hour by hour, as we move into the future together.  I love to put thought into my resolutions, reflecting on what I've learned about myself over the past year and what I'd like to change.  I feel like I got a bit of a head start on this year's resolutions by starting this blog.  One of the things I learned and disliked about myself last year was the swell of uncertainty rising to drown the best parts of my personality.  This blog helps me stand against the swell.

(145/365) Expanding my horizonsImage by Leeni! via Flickr

I have more typical New Year's Resolutions, as well.  Last year I gave up land-bound meat and became a pescetarian for 12 months.  I'm back to an omnivorous diet this year, because it's easier on my home life (Mr. B finds it easier to cook meat dishes, and it's incredibly helpful when he takes over that responsibility).  But I am resolved to eat less meat than I did before last year's experiment.  I'm also resolved to jog at least two times each week with my dog, Buckingham.  

Buck is a new addition, and has been great for our mental health.  He's also a big motivation point, because in general I hate exercise and would never choose to do it for myself--but I love that puppy and his boundless energy, so I will do it for him.  I've succeeded two out of the four weeks of the year, and I am giving myself a pass on the two weeks I failed because they were exceedingly busy due to school.  (No more of that excuse though!)

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05:  Angie Seigley (R) is ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeI've officially decided on my bar exam state- I'm putting the application in the mail tomorrow.  It's been a nerve-racking experience but at least it's finished now.  There's a sort of resignation to it.  I still never thought I'd be here without a plan, but at least now I'm taking steps to form one.  And this paragraph sounds more depressing than it is.  I am confident that my chosen state is the right choice for us, at least for now.  I'm just (characteristically) having a difficult time adjusting my expectations from three years ago to reality today. 

This post has been a long time coming and is almost a month overdue, but now we are all caught up. The next one will be back to normal!

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