Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On splinters, refridgerators and life's persistent questions ...

Okay - yes, it's been awhile, but it's not my fault - truly! Well, okay, it's mostly my fault, but I DID write a blog about a month ago about the profusion of splinters in my feet, but something happened and 2 hours of work later it wouldn't post and didn't get saved ... yup, a barrel of laughs that one was, but I guess you'll have to trust me on that! Suffice it to say that running barefoot on chip trails is not the best idea ... I'm not sure what it says about me that I tried it three times before I finally decided to give my poor feet a break and bought Vibram Fivefingers, or that I probably would have continued trying if it wasn't interfering with my training!

This post is not, however, about my irrational masochism or my tendency towards redundant adjectives - is it truly possible to be rationally masochistic after all? - but rather about reaching adulthood and the decisions that this necessarily demands. Wow - that makes it sound like this is a crazy serious blog post - don't worry, it's not to anyone else but me - it is my life we're discussing here, after all.

I have officially - in my reasoning, which I'm sure makes sense but other people tend to question - reached adulthood. This topic could certainly be a blog post all on its own, but it basically comes down to being the "proud" owner of a large appliance (the fact that the symbol of my transition into adulthood broke within a week and cost more to fix than it did to buy does not bode well for this period of my life ... but, again, another post perhaps). It was right about this time that I fell into my old-childish pattern of questioning everything I am, do, care about, etc. etc. (something from the past was bound to follow me to the new and exciting world of broken refrigerators). I do apologize to my family and friends who are forced to listen to me lament, complain and bitch about every 6 months; I'm sure they will all die happy if they never have to hear, "I don't know what I'M DOING," or "How do I know this is the right path for me?!" ever again! The reality is, however, that this has been a major point of personal contention ever since my last year of college and the infamous senior-show debacle. I had my life planned out at that point - I HAD a path, and I was walking on my merry way listening to the birds singing and watching the baby animals, not noticing the dark forest in front of me until it was too late and the vultures of life were circling my dead dreams ... (ha! I think that's the sappy-ist thing I've ever written!) For the last 5 years, though, I've been without a strong direction - flitting from job to job, going to school because I know I need more of it, but not entirely sure what it's going to lead to. I am overwhelmingly happy to announce, however, that there is finally light filtering through the leaves of the forest, the underbrush is thinning and I'm determined to take this analogy as far as possible! Don't worry, though - you get to wade through more explanation, commentary, inappropriate dashes, and - if you're really lucky - hideous analogies before I finally reveal the plan that has spurred such a long, rambling blog post!!

After I left CARDV and was applying for jobs literally all over the country, I read a lot of books about finding the "right" career. I've long known the area that I want to work in: human rights generally and women's rights/issues specifically, as well as a variety of other things that I want (or don't) out of a job: I want to be able to use my public speaking skills, I don't want to do crisis intervention, direct service work, I would like to opportunity to work internationally if possible and I'm interested in working for a non-profit. All this is not, however, a clear road-map towards a career, to say the least. I was recently lamenting - once again - that I don't have a clear direction - that I'm going to grad school hoping that I'll develop a stronger sense of what I want to do while there (perhaps not the best use of all my student loan money!); I can't really say what sparked - or re-sparked, I should say - this idea for a career; it just came to me, made a lot of sense and - best of all - made me super excited ... my future wasn't a nebulous, black, smokey haze anymore - it seemed obvious and clear. Okay - ready for it?! Here it is!!

I'm going to be a lawyer for an international non-profit that works on human rights issues (specifically women's rights issues)!!!

I'm super excited!!! I've thought about being a lawyer off and on for years - but I've never necessarily wanted to be a trial lawyer. I had thought about doing international law in the past but let myself be talked out of it by someone who I love very much (and who did not, by the way, intend to talk me out of it - I don't believe - but who doesn't particularly like the "soft law" aspect of international law). This fits perfectly the various things that I'm looking for in a career, and I believe that it fits my personality fairly well to boot! I'm excited - I'm nervous - I'm excited again and mostly I'm relieved! I was beginning to think that I would have to settle for "one of many 'right' choices" - as people were beginning to tell me - and that's simply not what I wanted for my life; I wouldn't be happy looking back and knowing that I gave up the pursuit to find "that" career that fit me perfectly - that I choose one thing out of many options, all of which were okay but none of which I was in love with.

So, maybe I'm building this up a bit - I know that no career is going to perfect and that they are all hard work, but there are times in our lives that we decide on something without deliberation because we simply know that it's right - it's the right fit, the right choice, and it will make us happy. I did that with my husband - the night I met him I knew that I was going to marry him - no deliberation, it was simply the right choice, the right fit; sure it's not been perfect, nothing is, but I'm still happy and it was still the best decision for me, and I knew it right away - this is the same thing: I simply know.

So there you have it - my decision revealed! I'm looking forward to the future in a way I haven't for some time - I'm excited and content; I know where I'm headed and everything I'm doing now will help me get there - yay for me! :o) I start school again at the end of September - until then I will continue saying encouraging words to my refrigerator every morning (yes, I do this, and then I pat it's door lovingly ... we all need encouragement to run another day from time to time), being thankful for my Vibrams and trust that the same ... tenacity - yeah, that's what we'll call it ... that made me try running barefoot on chip trails multiple times will be more of a benefit to my career as a lawyer than it was to my training schedule!


  1. yay! woohoo! Oh Emily. Am I happy or what?

    Also a tad speechless at the moment, what with your dear brother having just graduated law school. It's hard work, and I know you are up to it. gee. I guess I'll think of a clever reply in a while. looking for unicorns right now...

  2. This fits you so well! I get a funny goose-bumpy deja vu feeling just thinking about you as a lawyer for an international non-profit. Destiny is calling. :)

    P.S. Not David - this is Ann. He happens to be signed into Google. Much love to you.

  3. I definitely can see you doing that...I remember when we first met you were thinking about being a lawyer! It sounds like it will be a great fit. So then...will you get your masters and then apply to law school around here? Or apply to law school somewhere else?

    I'm so happy for you...I know what you mean about suddenly realizing something is the perfect fit. I had one of those moments when I decided I wanted to be a school psychologist. I knew I was interested in education, children, and psychology, but I didn't want a high powered research or clinical psych career...I wanted my summers off and a flexible schedule so that I could have a family too!! When I heard about school psych, it just fit perfectly with all of my personal and career goals. :) It was such a great feeling. It hasn't always felt perfect, but in the end, I do think it is right for me.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  4. I am planning to get my masters still, Rachel. I figure that a masters in public policy certainly couldn't hurt my career choice or my law school applications - plus it seems to be much easier to do things like internships when you're a student. It's a very interdisciplinary program, so I will be choosing classes based on what will help me best with law school and beyond. I have an idea of the law school I would like to go to ... it could be a pipe dream, but they have an excellent public interest/humanitarian law program and it would take me to New York, which is where Michael would like to be for a couple of years ... here's hopin' for Columbia!

  5. Good blog, Sweetie! Lawyers, Doctors, Musicians, Mommies - all good career choices. :)

  6. Yay! I'm so excited for you! I know I've told you this in person, but for the digital record - I think you will be an excellent international human rights/women's rights attorney. :) And, if/when you are living abroad, I hope to visit and see all the good work that you are doing!

    -- lindsay