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On Making Lemonade and Major Life Decisions

Up to this point, I’ve been posting using another blog that I started a while back. I’m not going to import all the content from that blog because I’d like to start fresh, but this one is rather pertinent to understanding where I am today and how I got here so I thought I’d share it again.


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when you’ve been making vat after vat of lemonade, it’s time to ask: Why are there so many lemons here?

I’m really good at shouting down my emotions. It’s not something I’ll ever put on a resume or application, because it’s not a very helpful skill. I often take my family and friends by surprise with big decisions and big emotional outbursts because I surprise myself with them. It’s the result of having emotions and shushing them and locking them away until they reach flood level and refuse to be silenced anymore.

If you’ve talked to me in the past year and a half, I’ve probably mentioned that I didn’t love grad school, that I wasn’t super happy with things. That’s true, as much as it would be true to say that it’s a bit chilly at a temperature of -23. So I wasn’t lying when I told you that I didn’t love grad school and I wasn’t super happy with things. But it would have been a whole lot more accurate to say that I hated grad school and I was miserable. If that’s a bit of a shock to you, it was a shock to me when I realized it about a month ago.

Looking back, there were a lot of times I should have realized it. But I told my emotions to pipe down and I went back to what I was doing. I didn’t give myself any other option. This was what I thought I wanted to do, so I just had to do it because I just had to do it.

Turns out, I don’t have to do it.

Everything came crashing down the Thursday before finals and I realized that I really have nothing left to give this. I’m burnt out and I don’t want it anymore. Maybe that sounds crazy. Maybe that’s not what you expected from Amy. It’s not what I expected either, to be honest, and it’s been a battle to not view the whole thing as a profound failure. But despite expectations and my own inner voice repeatedly trying to convince me that I’ve failed, I’m walking away from academics. I’m choosing to be proud of what I’ve learned, proud of what I’ve achieved, and I’m heading for a mountain I’d rather climb. Because I want my life to be something I’m excited about. I want it to be a life I can be proud of living, one that I can look back on someday and smile one of those big ridiculous smiles we get when we aren’t weighed down by regrets and time spent being unhappy when we could have been chasing down what we really wanted out of life.

Really, I’m tired of making lemonade, so I’m going to try to find a place that will stop handing me so many lemons.

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