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manifesto monday : growing and strange advice

5.17.2010

last year i graduated. finally. after nine years of going to school on and off. after three universities. after six jobs. after hundreds of hours of wonderful, blissful, difficult courses. it was about time i graduated. in history. loved it. and hated it.

the things we love most are heavy with paradox. love-hate. natural-difficult.

during my last semester of school i approached a few of my professors with questions about my future in academia. i explained: it's taken me nine years to do my undergraduate studies. i don't know many professors very well, and they don't know me. i want desperately to pursue an academic life, but am worried that my sporadic schooling will not produce sufficient references, and, well, let's face it: academia is hard. very. very. hard. at least for me it is. but i love it. i swoon for it and in it. is this the masochist in me? perhaps. the point is, is that i love the most the thing that is the most difficult.

professor number one's advice: since my academic record and existence isn't all that substantial, perhaps i should go with something more within my reach and ability (aka : something easy). she suggests i pursue option b : ayurvedic practitioner (no references needed, no grades needed, no tests needed...i just pay my money, and voila! i'm certified). option b is safe. it's easy. why not?

professor number two's advice: (while trying not to give me the "you're out of your mind" look) you just don't have the right credentials. it would take more work than you could ever imagine for you to even think about applying for more school. just get your undergrad degree and be happy with it. move on.

professor number three's advice: yes! go for it. you might have to take a few extra courses. but you can do it. don't let tests intimidate you. don't let time intimidate you. if this is what you want then do it. by the way, i had a dream last night that i picked up the newspaper and there was a substantial article written by you. go for it. do what you need to do. it might take time. your path might not be conventional, but who needs convention?

over the past year, i've taken the advice of the first two. until now. finally i realized that all those catchy phrases ("never, never, never give up; do one thing every day that scares you; success is standing up one more time than you've fallen; the easy way isn't necessarily the best way; etc) really do have some heavy truths. i wonder why so many people were telling me to do the easy thing. to quit. thank goodness for one wise and kind professor. (and, of course, ceej was always telling me i could do anything).

i'm resolved. to do the hard thing. to do the thing that will bring me the most growth. to do the thing that i will both love and hate the most. to do the thing that will teach me more about myself and others more than any other endeavor. i'm going to do the thing that will take time, sweat, and dedication. i'm going to do the thing that might bring lots of frustration, but lots of joy. since when did we start to think that the easy and quick way was the right way? no thank you. i'm doing life the old-fashioned way: slow, deliberate, and truthfully. no more coming up with quick-fixes. i've tried that for a year, and can see it is taking me nowhere but disappointment.

i'm moving forward no matter how long it takes. no matter how hard. no matter what everyone else tells me. i think i'm finally growing up. i'm loving the things that stretch me most.

this i believe.

7 comments:

Cassandra said...

good for you. good for that professory that encouraged you! (I believe if the world were full of more professors like that, we would all be reaching for our dreams...I was lucky to have a few of them throughout my life!)

Dancing Branflake said...

I am so glad you decided to do what you want to do and not let fear decide for you. Very inspiring!

Tonia said...

Good for you! Life isn't meant to be a flaking out of hard options: if you're meant to do them, you'll stretch the hardest. Happy stretching!

bigBANG studio said...

amazing post; beautifully honest and so inspiring. i've certainly taken the long road to get where i'm going too, and i think the most important lesson here is to PURSUE OUR DREAMS no matter what others tell us.

so proud of you. xoxo

Marie said...

Good luck Annie, I know you can do it!

cindy said...

i believe you and if you haven't seen the movie 'the secret in their eyes' you really, really should. if you have a passion you will pursue it whether it's now or 20 years from now. now sounds best.

Anonymous said...

Thanx Ann Marie for sharing this! I love your writing style and your manifestos.. Just follow your heart! I believe in you!
I hope that you are reading all the comments.
Maria