Transitions in life seem to come up more often when one is in graduate school…or at least I have convinced myself that I am at yet another transition point as I head into the final year of my four year JD-MBA program.
On the one hand, this next year will be just like any other in my life: it will consist of 365 days, some of which will be good and some bad. I will meet people, get back in touch, travel, do things, learn…
But I guess the idea that the world is my oyster waiting for me to paint the canvas down the path less traveled into the wild blue yonder only has so much of a half-life.
I used to morbidly joke with friends that if I hadn’t become famous or successful by the age of 27 then my life would be over – figuratively and literally.
That year came and went, but thankfully I had school in my back pocket to justify why I was still waiting to make my mark.
Now that the prospect of graduation is looming on the horizon, I guess I am realizing that I don’t have any more ready-made society-tested excuses for not yet being “great”.
When I was in junior high school, the disciplinarian assistant principal, used to sit me down in his office and tell me about how his next-door neighbor “had so much potential, but never made anything of it…because he was a jerk.” Although the story didn’t get me to joke less or pay attention more, the idea of being stunted in realizing my potential has subconsciously haunted me for as long as I can remember.
So now as I head into the final year of this important-sounding program, I look in the mirror and search for the potential-realized, and when I am honest, I know that it has not yet happened.
A friend of mine who is successful by almost any measure recently talked with me about this feeling, which is exemplified by the test crammed for, the race ran three-quarters speed, the first-draft of a blog-post hastily thrown out into the Interwebs. By never putting a full effort forward, we avoid both great accomplishment and disappointment because we have a built in excuse…of course we could have done better if we had only given it our “full effort.”
So maybe this year marks the transition to when I finally need to stop putting my accomplishments in the distant future. I want to give it my all-or-nothing, everything-at-once very best effort.
The only thing is…I still don’t know what to do with or where to put all of these so-called efforts. That’s the trouble with life: it doesn’t come with a guidebook.
So maybe instead, these “transitions” will keep coming…at moments where reflection dominates, places change, faces are new, and questions of the future direction of the current chapter come into focus.
That doesn’t mean I will stop fretting about this transition year. But maybe it means I have a bit more time before I have to stop dreaming about doing something truly great.