The Great Unknown of 2017

Change is scary.  Change is uncertain.   Fear of change is what keeps us clinging to past mistakes and bad habits simply because they are familiar.  Fears paralyzes us to stay where we are at, instead of moving forward into the unknown.  Because it is the unknown and not change that we are truly afraid of.  Change is only the vessel with which we are forced to face the unknown.  The unknown is this place where we fill inadequate and unprepared, and maybe worst of all – powerless to control our own destiny.

So we stay.  We avoid the unknown, because here may not be great, but at least we know what to expect.  Here we are prepared; we are in control.  Here is comfortable; it is safe.

I don’t think we ever truly conquer our fears.  I don’t think  we are suppose to.  Fear is there for a reason, and it isn’t going to go away.  No, we will never truly conquer fear, but we can become more comfortable with it.  We can learn to embrace it instead of run from it.  We can learn to stop letting our fear get in the way of our own happiness.

In the last five years, I have done many things that I would have never believed myself capable of.  I was certain that there was no way that I could do something that bold or that brave.  But I did.  I was scared at every step, but I slowly started to learn that maybe I had no idea my limits of what I could do.

My great unknowns still scare me.  However, I am learning that my great unknowns hold some of the best experiences of my life.  They are just waiting there, waiting for me to have the courage to reach out and live them.

The last year has been pretty comfortable for me.  That isn’t too say that it wasn’t hard, simply that I felt the most settled I have ever felt in life.  But I can’t stay here.  I was not made to stay here.  2016 is gone, and 2017 is likely to look much different.  2017 involves me quitting my job, putting a couple more stamps on my passport, and starting law school.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was scared.  That is my great unknown, and it is daunting.  I am not going to run from that fear.  I am going to embrace it, and pull myself closer to being the person I want to be.

Whatever your 2017 holds, whatever your great unknown is,  I hope you embrace it.  I hope you learn that you are strong, capable, and brave.  I hope you have moments in which you find yourself pulling closer to the person you know yourself to be.  I hope you learn that your limits are far wider than you ever thought they could be.

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.”

“We can’t, we MUST not loose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

– The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

lori

Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

Advertisements

Aspirations of Justice

I have worked in a law office for almost two years now.  I have no preconceived notions of glory that will happen when I am a lawyer.  I know that clients will be needy and rarely ever grateful.  I know that clients will sometimes be their own worst enemy.  I know that even when they aren’t, there are plenty of other enemies out there wanting to pounce.  I know that you will go from being busy to having fifteen things that need to get done in the next fifteen minutes.

I know that you will never feel like you are caught up on your work, and you will always feel like you are forgetting to do something important.  I know that this work is exhausting, it is emotional draining, it is mental taxing, and some days it will break you.  But I also know that this work is important, because at its foundations is justice and fairness for all.  It is work that is worth aspiring to.

We as Americans tend to have an idealized idea of how our justice system works.  We like to think that we have the great leveler of justice right at our finger tips.  A place where the truth will also prevail and good will always win.  This is the courtroom of America that we put on a pedestal.  But I see a different courtroom.  I see a place where the innocent go to prison and the guilty go free.  I see a place where the victims are often victimized a second time by the justice system.

I see a broken justice system.

You may wonder why if I have lost so much faith in our justice system, why oh why am I so eager to jump in with the throws of attorneys and join it.  I will tell you why.  Because it breaks my heart to watch it happen, and I am sick of sitting on the sidelines.  I am sick of being the girl that complains about our justice system instead of being part of the solution.

I know that I can’t fix an entire broken system, but maybe if I can just fix it for one person, maybe that will be enough.  I know that truth and justice are unattainable aspirations, but that does not mean that we should aspire for them any less.  

My boss once told me that visibility brings change.   Meaning that if the common person in America knew what really went on behind closed doors, there is no way they would not demand change.

We fool ourselves into believing that we don’t have a voice, or that our voice doesn’t matter.  We don’t believe that we have any power to change anything at all.  Change will not come by us playing small.  Stop playing small.  Stop playing scared.  Stop pretending you voice doesn’t matter.  Stop sitting there telling yourself that this is just how life is, and stand up and demand change.  Get angry.  Get vocal.  Not in a way that we are fighting with against each other, but in a way that we are fighting with each other.  Demand visibility.  Demand change.  Because until we demand change, change will not come.   

Philly

Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

 

 

On Feeling Desperate

I was recently talking to an old friend about how awful the time period is after you graduate college and you have to find a job.  No one really prepares you for the long haul of it.  We graduate college expecting to be more or less handed our dream job.  After all isn’t that why we went to college?  Isn’t that why we studied and starved ourselves for four years?

That angst jealous that pokes its hands at our fragile ego as we watch everyone else in our class get jobs before us.  Our egos take a hit with each rejection letter that we get from jobs we thought we were perfect for.

I was working in a coffee shop at the time during and after college.  It was a good place to work, and we had a great manager.  He made people’s lives better everyday.  He was 80% of the reason I still worked there.  So while I was looking for adult jobs constantly,  I wasn’t really desperate for one.  Until our manager announced that he had put in his two weeks.  He was leaving.  It hit me like a bowling ball.  All of us shift supervisors agreed that there was no way we would want to keep working here without him.

Suddenly I was desperate.  I didn’t just want a different job, I needed one.  Luckily for me that is when I started getting a lot of interviews.  Also luckily for me that is when the right job came along.  I pulled out all of my stops for this job.  I practically begged them to give it to me.  Luckily for me they did.  But I wonder, if I hadn’t been desperate would I still have ended up here?  Maybe, maybe not.

I decided to dive into this feeling a bit more, because I always thought of desperation as being a bad thing.  Now I am not so sure it is. So I brought it close and studied it.  I found that desperation can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  The difference lies in how you react to feeling desperate.

If you let it, desperation will be the small voice in your head that tells you it is time to move, it is time to change. 

Desperation can be driving.  Desperation pushes us forward.  It pushes us to do all sorts of things we wouldn’t dare do otherwise.  Because we know all to well that often it is not the things we want to do that we end up doing, it is the things we have to do.  Desperation drives the want to in us to the have to.

Desperation can be readiness.  It forces us  to acknowledge that we need to change.  Unfortunately most of us don’t change unless we have to.  Desperation brings that push we need to take the first step into a better life.  Desperation corners us to admit we have mistakes to fix.

Desperate has a very negative connotation in our society. We think of desperate people as those who settle because they don’t think they can do better, or the people who lie and cheat to get what they want.  It is true that side of desperation exists.   But there is also a very different side that we do not give enough credit it.

The side of desperate that creates the moment when we decide to pull our future dreams into our present reality. 

I like that feeling of desperate.  I want to hold it close.  I want to be able to hear the small voice in my head that says: now, this moment, take it, grab it, and go.

Mask PC-Caitlin WorthingtonPhoto Credit: Catilin Worthington

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” – William Burroughs.

“Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.” –  Benjamin Disraeli

What Makes a Home

Growing up I was lucky that I never had to move as a child.  Perks of being the daughter of a farmer, moving isn’t normally in the cards.  This place will always be my true home and I am grateful that ever time I leave I know it isn’t goodbye forever.  I love the way the cherry trees bloom in the spring and the how the apples trees smell in the fall.  I love the anticipation of turning out our long gravel driveway and knowing that I am almost home. 

Home

Home 2

 However since I have been 18, I have moved twice every year.  I have become an expert at moving.  I have a very tried and true packing system.  I have also learned just how easily I become attached to the places I call home.

There is something heart wrenching about see the place that you use to call home, empty and unrecognizable from the place you came to love as your home. It is if all the memories you have there, all of the adventures, all of the growing, all of the nights you stayed up late trying to figure out what it meant to BE in this life, are just gone.  Washed away in the bare walls and the empty cupboards. It just gets me every time.  I walk through to say my final goodbyes and replay the best moments.  Then I see the empty rooms as erased memories and I just cry.  I am not sure if I am weird or normal for doing this, but I have always been a bit of sentimental sap about these things.

Continue reading