Thursday, May 19, 2016

Overcoming My Underachievement

I used to make regular "Diary of a Slacker" entries as I chronicled my reluctant attempts at becoming a committed runner/half-marathoner/tri-athlete.  Mostly, it was an excuse to indulge my urge to blog while (in theory) humorously poking fun of myself. But it acknowledged some less-than-endearing traits I've recognized in myself: sloth and procrastination.  Sadly, those are my defaults.  Yes - actually getting out there and training and competing was arguably me overcoming those traits, but they're still my defaults -- and I do see them as flaws I'd do well to cure.  

I have to admit, though, nothing will make you feel quite so slothful and slackerish as hearing that one of your classmates is on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees.  (Yes, it's a list of 11 possibilities which even the not-yet-official-nominee-and-certainly-not-yet-next-President-Heaven-help-us-all acknowledges is not set in stone, but STILL!)  Particularly when it comes several months after the news that another classmate has contributed $100 million dollars to your alma mater.  In fairness, said classmate had a healthy running start on his fortune, but he's obviously done quite well for himself since!  

I. Am. Not. Worthy.  That's where my mind immediately went.  (Hey - I'm human.)  It also prompted me to once again reassess several of my life choices and contemplate what I'd do differently if I had it all to do again, particularly as it relates to my education/career choices:  I'd have taken advantage of the awesome J-School at MIZZOU and double-majored in Journalism and Political Science in order to better blend (and ideally feed) my dual passions of writing and politics.  For law school, as much as I loved my experience at Northwestern, and as great an opportunity as it was (obviously - see above paragraphs), I think I'd have taken advantage of the generous scholarship package I was offered to remain at MIZZOU for law school, rather than weighing myself down with student debt for which, in some respects, I'm still paying. And lastly, I'd have made a point to "apply" myself a bit more diligently.  Not that I did poorly academically - but I didn't really distinguish myself, and I certainly didn't make a conscious effort to focus and soak up the education I was being afforded, as opposed to simply phoning it in.  There are many chapters in my life that, when I look back, I realize I didn't fully appreciate at the time.  I don't just mean simple gratitude, but also conscious, deliberate, stop-and-smell-the-roses-and-soak-it-all-in-and-inform-your-choices-accordingly appreciation.

Of course, the fact that I didn't always see the wisdom in doing so in my younger days in no way prevents me from doing so going forward -- I'm 47, not 97.  So, bearing that in mind, I'll take a moment now to express my gratitude:  For an amazing, funny, smart, loving, kind daughter who is herself entering a new chapter of life, as she completes her last day of  middle school - I am so very lucky to be her Mom, and, as much as I focus on trying to parent her and help her grow into a strong, independent, capable young woman, realize more and more how much she's teaching me in the process.  For a wonderful, thoughtful, clever, handsome, witty, generous boyfriend/life-partner who gives me reason to smile and makes my heart go pitter-patter every day - I am so fortunate to have a best friend and companion who "gets" me and loves me and holds my hand so well.  For my beloved family - my Mom and Dad, and siblings and in-laws, and extended family, one and all - I've been blessed to be surrounded and bolstered by their love and support my entire life.  For my dear friends - the many kind hearts who make a point to let me know that I am loved and valued by choice.  For my network of friends/friendly acquaintances I've met compliments of the conservative movement and social media, and the writing and broadcasting opportunities that has consequently afforded me.  For my church and the journey of reconnecting with my faith it has helped me to make.  For my job and my co-workers - no, I don't hold a lofty title or make prestigious short lists, nor do I make a gabillion dollars, but I manage to support myself and my kiddo and occasionally generate work/results of which I'm proud and still live a life with plenty of fun and neat opportunities.  

I'm not going to lie - I'm still prone to sloth. I'm still a horrible procrastinator.  But my life?  You know - it isn't so bad at all.  Yes, I am grateful.  Now, I just need to focus a bit more on living it accordingly. 

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