Tag Archives: college

Life is a Trade-Off.

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I knew it was coming.

It had to.

That special wistfulness of times past, the knowledge that this was really the last time, and there would be no more after this.

The romanticized versions in my head that ignored all of the frustrations, discouragements, and feelings of helplessness of the past two years.

I never thought I’d be here. I’d already thought that I’d never miss it; that when I hear of a game this weekend, I’d chuckle at how much I hated sacrificing my entire Saturday to do something I didn’t even like: watching football. And that I’d remember how much I loathed getting up early and ending up sick and voiceless the next day.

But it’s the school songs that get me. The ones I know with my heart and not my hands or lips. The ones that simply tumble out with the ictus of the drum major’s hands, through me.

Was it a family, but I just didn’t notice or partake? Could I have made a difference if only I didn’t believe that I was powerless? If only I didn’t listen to the wrong voices? If only I’d opened my eyes to the people who actually cared and wanted to see a change?

Did I waste my time and my potential by giving up and going through the motions–by acting sullen when I could have done much better by offering a cheerful spirit?

Oh, how I wish I could return. I feel a terrible debt to them, because I could have given so much more if only I had remained hopeful and persistent.

But regardless of my regret, my pride that makes me want to prove myself, or the what-ifs that swirl in my head, I’ve already made the choice. And now I must live with it. I must justify it…make myself certain that I chose rightly. For that is the human way.

Life is a trade-off. Time is a commodity, a scarce resource. In order for me to choose to capture one opportunity, I must give up another opportunity that I have never experienced, or one that I’ve had previously. I’m still not sure which is worse: the torture of not knowing what could have been, or giving up that which you already know. Perhaps it is both intertwined that torment me so.

When the mind and the heart are at odds, who is to say who should win? But the heart shouldn’t always win, and neither should the mind. One who only follows his heart may find himself in a sea of aloof impracticality, and one who only follows his mind builds walls that forget about feeling.

In this, I have chosen the mind: I must do what I must. For my education, for my marriage, for my health. And I must have faith that there are greater things waiting for me. I must trust God to “make all things work together for the good of those who love him.” And above all, I must make peace with myself.

I’ll  allow myself the luxury of sadness now, so it won’t tear me down in the months to come.

Perhaps I’ll entertain the bitter memories to prevent the nostalgia. Or perhaps I’ll preserve only the good ones, that I may have lovely thoughts to look back upon.

Either way, I know this:

I will continue.

The Search for Identity

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Since I can really consciously remember (since middle school or so), I feel that I’ve been on this quest to understand who I am and how I fit in with the world. I know, that’s not at all unusual for such an age–but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Throughout high school, I wore the clothes my youth group wore. (I tried to make my boyfriends wear them, too. That was weird.) I dyed some of my hair purple. And later, I started dying it more natural colors, and I tried all kinds of lengths and styles. I hiked through some trails and tried taking pictures, thinking I could be a photographer if only I tried. I ate vegetarian because I wanted to be a health nut, like my dad. I played in the marching band, jazz band, concert band, church worship band…I played saxophone, and trombone, and guitar, keys, bass, and even tried drums. I was in honor societies and other clubs that I can’t even remember. All I remember is that I was busy, doing everything.

Some of that stayed. Some of it didn’t. That is normal–in fact, it’s what Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, calls that age from 12-18 years old the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. This is the part of our lives where we form our identities, decide who we’re gonna be.

And yet…I had forgotten all of that stuff I did when we had started talking about the stages of Identity in one of my Psychology classes in college. I feared that I had been a case of Identity Foreclosure–where no exploration happens, a person simply accepts the beliefs of his/her parents without questioning, altering, or choosing. I mean, the people who do engage in identity foreclosure do tend to be very successful, happy, and have good self-esteem. But that is so frowned upon by our society–and I tried not to think about how “bad” I would be if that were true of me.

But, after more examination, it’s not–all of those things are typical of the stage of Identity Moratorium, the precursor to Identity Achievement. Moratorium is the period of searching and exploration before one decides on an identity; Achievement is the decision for that particular identity.

I do think that this stage extends into the college age–why else would people be hard partiers, experiment with substances, and try on different religions in college, only to turn out to be someone completely different after five or ten years? I mean, those are drastic examples–but this period is the time when we’re learning about what the world really is and how we’re gonna fit into it. Who we are, in terms of the rest of the world. The factors of finances, being away from family, doing stuff for yourself, and generally being alone weren’t previously there. And now they are, and you’re navigating them and trying to figure out who you are with them.

Maybe I’ve foreclosed on some things. I’ve certainly achieved some things. And…I think I’m still doing some searching on some things, too. I don’t think those stages are an all-or-nothing deal–one can only be “mostly true” for a given person…some are closer to those extremes than others.

So I’m not so sure that the quest for identity ever truly ends. Or maybe, I’m not ready for it to end right now. I’ve chosen some things and am dedicated to them, but I haven’t chosen on some other things. And that’s okay.

I don’t think it’s ever to late to discover.

My Love Story, Part 6: The Engagement

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

Part 5: Long Distance

 

I’ve been putting off writing this particular post because I felt that I “wasn’t far enough along in the engagement” to adequately describe it, to sum it up.

And, well, plans changed, and all of a sudden, my engagement is nearly over. But certainly not over in a bad way.

I wish I could live in that moment, where he got up from the other side of the table and came over to my seat to get down on one knee. It was thrilling. Not even the knowledge of its coming when he picked me up in a new dress shirt and sport coat brought that moment down.

People always ask me: “Why are you getting married? How do you know that he’s ‘the one’?”

Married people always tell you, “When you know, you know.” I always thought they were kinda crazy…especially when I thought I knew with the last guy I had. But when that phrase “I want to marry you” is followed by its proof–a period of drastic growth in both individuals and in the relationship–that’s when you really know. And I could sit around for years telling you what I now know to be important before choosing a husband, but I’ll save that for another time.

It was around the six month mark that it actually came out of our mouths. Now, that was about a year ago. And of course, looking at that point in our relationship from the perspective I have now, it’s crazy to think that I could have believed that I was ready to be married. But that’s a good thing. If I could say that we were the same people as we were a year ago, and that we had the same relationship, there would be a problem.

The most honorable thing I can say about our engagement is this: it has been a period of more growth than I could have imagined was possible in such a short amount of time.

It’s awesome to watch Matt step into the “husband” shoes…to take responsibility for me in a healthy way and to learn to love me in the way God desires for us. And likewise, I am slowly learning to respect him and his decisions, and to not try to take control of everything, the way I always do.

But still, one of the greatest things I have battled throughout our engagement is fear.

Not fear of him or myself. Not fear of our failure or fear that it won’t work out or fear that I am marrying the wrong person or at the wrong time. Fear of what others might think of me.

It often seems to me that a canyon lies between what I expect others to think of me, and what others do indeed think of me. But other times, the two are identical. The bad thing is, I always expect the worse: people will lose faith in me, they will think me foolish, they will misunderstand, they will be angry, they will look down upon me,…

It’s such a shame that marriage at a young age is so looked down upon. One author on Boundless said this:

Some people should marry when young; others should marry when older; still others, who have the gift of celibacy, should not marry at all. What I criticized was the trend toward later and later marriages. The problem isn’t that people are marrying late — the problem is that too many people are marrying later than they should. Those who should marry when young are marrying when old, and those who should marry when old are marrying older still. Some who should marry never do at all.

Of course, it comforted me that someone backed me up on my opinion. But what I really needed was for someone to put words to what exactly I was experiencing. And to know that I’m okay.

Another thing my mom told me, before we got engaged, was this: “College doesn’t have to have a white picket fence around it.”

That image of the “strong, independent woman” that gets a degree, establishes a career, and then starts considering marriage–which my dad had painted in my head–was not to be mine. In fact, that sounded pretty boring to me.

In the end…God’s plans are bigger and more exciting than a four year curriculum. And He doesn’t expect me or want me to neglect all other parts of my life while I’m in the land of Academia. I’m so grateful for that. Who knows! He might even whisk us away to some new adventure that totally exceeds our expectations for the future. Knowing Him, that’s probably what He’ll do.

And now…we have come to the end of the Love Story series. I’m kind of sad to see it go, since it has been the biggest part of my blog for the few months of its existence. From here on out, my blog will probably be peppered with various lessons God teaches me through our marriage. For Matthew will no longer be just a person in my life…but my own flesh:

And Jesus answered and said to them, “[…] From the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:5-8, NKJV)

August 10th, here we come!

I’ve been published by the Good Women Project!

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This is one of the happiest days of my life. I’ve been following the Good Women Project for a year or so now…I’ve read every single post they’ve published since I found them. It’s a blog/website dedicated to helping women live the life they were created to live. It’s a place for community and advice and stories and healing.

I decided I’d go out on a limb and write an article for this month, especially because I’m doing the Great Writers Challenge from Jeff Goins (also, GWP’s theme for this month is “The Working Woman”, and I don’t foresee myself writing for the next two months, “Ask A Married Woman” and “Let’s Talk About Sex Again”…not exactly things I have experience with). The main themes of the challenge are to  put yourself out there, do something brave, and build a platform. This is my first effort to do all of those things.

I wrote about my journey as a self-proclaimed workaholic. Here is a short excerpt:

I work hard. I always have.

And so, it was fitting that I chose quite possibly the world’s most daunting major: Music Education. In four years time, I have to rack up 135 credit hours of 0 and 1 credit courses. Those, along with homework, hours of practice, concert band, marching band, pep band, trombone choir, and attending concerts and recitals made every day into a 14-hour day. But I liked it, because I liked being busy. I thought I was “seizing the day”, not missing any opportunity, because I had no leftover time. I was doing as much as I could with the time I had. That’s what I thought was important.

People sometimes asked me what my hobbies were, or what I liked doing. “Well…I like playing trombone. I like school,” is what I found myself saying. Yeah…probably the lamest answer ever. I didn’t have any hobbies. I was consumed by work.

Click here to keep reading.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried writing for someone/something/somewhere else, and I’m thrilled that I actually got published on my first try. I really can’t believe it. I’m so humbled and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me with this passion for writing.