005 // The picture says it well

Last fall I applied for graduate school. A lot of stuff was happening during those months and I did not feel too comfortable or confident with my applications. To counter the rejection sure to come my way, I sent my application packet to more schools than necessary. The schools would reject me, I thought, and thus help me make my decision.

About 2.5 months have passed since I hit “Submit” for my grad school applications. My first letter arrived within three weeks, and they’ve been trickling in since. So far they have all been letters of acceptance.

The flurry of emotions surrounding this is complicated. Part of me wants to call it luck (“luckily they’ve all been acceptance letters”), but that would diminish the effort exerted to get to this stage. Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand and let someone else make the final choice for me – it would absolve me of fault if I fail sometime in the future (“it’s because I went to X University instead of Z University, and So-And-So picked it out”).

Mainly I feel incredibly grateful. Grateful for the work I put in to get where I am today. Grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and study something I find interesting. Grateful to know that there are people, programs, and schools out there who think I am a worth-while investment. Grateful that the most complex decision in my life right now is answering the question “which school should I attend?”

Someday I will share with you the list of schools I applied to. Maybe I will share their responses. There might be information on how I made my final decision. All of it will wait until after I put down my deposit and accept a spot in the program.

From one of the schools. 2/6
From one of the schools. 2/6

Until then, anyone want to tell me where I should go?

Time spent: 30 minutes

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004 // The Bandwagon

A lot of things fell apart at the end of last year and then, as I struggled to catch up, I let a lot of things stay by the wayside.

But my goal for 2015 was to get my life back to some semblance of normal. So come January I found myself trying to jump back on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon. My refrigerator was full of veggies, my countertop host to a bowl of fruit, and my running shoes next to the front door.

The weeks went by. I threw away the old vegetables, held my nose as I dumped the spoiled and smelly fruit, and wondered how my shoes had accumulated such a thick layer of dust. My work schedule was crazy and fifty hour weeks with no lunch breaks were my new normal. The elusive work-life balance was nowhere to be found and things were heavily weighted towards the work side of the equation. I ate cereal or ice cream for dinner more times than I care to admit.

So here I am, six weeks into the new year and still trying to crawl my way back to a normal, healthy lifestyle. Instead of throwing away spoiled veggies, I have a salad for lunch. The fruit no longer rots because I set phone reminders to eat it for snacks or dessert (or both). The layer of dust on my shoes has been replaced with a layer of dirt from my weekly trail runs.

It’s been three weeks and it is still difficult to view these changes as habits. Everyday I find myself questioning why I do it. Trying to justify it. And many days I fail, climb back in bed, and remember when this part of my life came naturally.

But sometimes I do roll out of bed, climb into those shoes, and hit the ground running.

Me at the top of Mt. Diablo after a six-mile trail run. 1/31
1/31: Me at the top of Mt. Diablo after a six-mile trail run.

Sometime soon those days will outnumber the ones where I choose to sleep-in. It won’t be today, or even next week. But it will happen soon.

Time spent: 23 minutes