The Road – A Bend

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”

This quote by Anthony Robins is a fitting, if slightly cliché, way to begin this new phase of my series. Last year, I was enfolded by the open arms of 10:31 Ministries and was given the outstanding opportunity to pen my freshman year reflections. Through my monthly Confessions articles, I was able to let my experiences ferment in my words. They gained meaning and insight, and I can revisit them with an added appreciation now that I’m one year removed from that milestone.

When I was provided with the opportunity to write again this year, with a new title and a slightly new topic area, I felt a twitch of discomfort. What? No more freshman confessions? No more rambling on about charming mud splatters from my bike tires or first-year naivete?

But, of course not! I realized the other day as I mounted my trusty blue bicycle for the first time this semester that no roads truly have an end or a beginning. Sure, they swap names and lanes and passengers along the way. Some have more road-kill than others and some make your teeth chatter while others make every car feel like a hovercraft (how cool would that be!). But, while it changes character, I believe there is really only one road out there. This new article, this new year, is just a bend in that road – a set of crossroads.

So, prepare to see much of what you saw of me last year! Sure, the freshman jitters are gone. I am now fully aware of which dining hall has the most food-baby inducing breakfast. The owner of the antique store downtown knows my name, and I have the privilege of co-captaining the blooming Women’s Ultimate team. But, I am still the same klutzy, discombobulated kiddo I have always been. Prepare to witness some glorious mishaps and some true badentures. (“badentures”: (noun) code for an adventure plagued by Murphy’s law yet made awesome by its sheer lack of orderliness)

Oh! By the way! I have already learned something. Well, multiple things. But, I’m not sure you’re quite interested in hearing about the nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere, the latest in quantitative methods in psychology, or how to say “What’s your name?” in American Sign Language. Tis fascinating, but you are busy people.

What I’ve learned, in just this first week, is to never stop asking “Who am I?” When you approach a bend or turn in the road, you are made to reevaluate your journey. Sometimes that moment of reconsideration is simply an unconscious flicker in time. However, some are much more lasting, and require a deceleration before that turn of the wheels. I have used the summer accordingly, enjoying that opportunity to hit the brakes and slow down before the changes heralded by this brand new year.

Last year, when I was still bumping my way along Freshman Lane, I was… Well, me. Obviously. But that version of myself had priorities that were vastly different from the ones I hold now. Planning out my semester this time last year, I aimed to poke a toe into EVERYTHING. I now give props to that former self, and her naïve yet impressive ambition. This year, I’ve chosen a different tactic.

Ultimate. Music. Psychology. American Sign Language. Four areas of interest that I aim to give my full and evenly divided attention.  Each one gives me a chance to answer that age old question: “Who am I?” And, perhaps even more importantly: “Who CAN I be?” I aim to avoid simply dabbling.

My first goal, then, would be to enjoy being completely immersed in my journey, completely enthralled by my trip along this Sophomore Road. My second goal? To never become too self-satisfied. No cruise-control for me. Sitting here now, I am quite a happy camper. You could even say I’m as happy as a Despicable Me™ minion with a whoopee cushion. THAT happy. I have surrounded myself with incredible people and I have worked my way into an extraordinary environment. But, I can’t let myself stop there? Allowing myself to constantly question whether I’ve reached my A-game, I have chosen a demanding lifestyle. But, in my mind, it will allow me to explore not just who I am, but who I have the potential to be. I’m not asking what I have previously mapped for myself, but rather where COULD the map go if I thought to take this new bend in the road?

Following a bend, a turn in the road is an intimidating decision. You can’t “kind of” make the turn, because in such things it is all or nothing. Either you have committed to embracing the change or you have passed one of many streets that simply lead to undesirable destinations. Yet, as formidable as the idea of a brand new and malleable year may be, I am so so so so SO very excited.  Two weeks into the game, and I can tell you this is going to be a good one, folks. Stay tuned.

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