Recently someone I respect commented on one of my photos on facebook, "Thanks, Lindsey, for living my dream. Look back only to get perspective." Tears in my eyes guys, tears in my eyes.
This follows on the heels of an unexpected heart to heart with an old friend I recently reconnected with. She happens to have many things in her life that I could be envious of and she pretty much said that she and others in her circle of equestrians love watching what I do and are envious of my skills and experiences. Woah, what? Luckily this was via text so I didn't have to embarrass myself sniffling. I get stuck looking at all the things about myself that seem sub par or total fails that I forget to pay attention to the really great parts. That said, you might think that I go around moping all the time and I definitely don't. I sing and 'dance' while driving, I like to creep people out by smiling most of the time. I try to appreciate the beauty around me (hence the five million pictures of sunset and sunrise). In fact the other day Aimee called me bubbly, for some reason this shocked me. I'm not talking about day to day horse things here, what I'm talking about are things like 'what am I doing with my life!?'
You may have noticed that I haven't talked about the job search/pursuit of graduate degree much lately. That is because it has been nonexistent. Somewhere along the line I had to quit trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. I also had to quit trying to live my life by other people's expectations (or what I perceived as their expectations). I am a stubborn person and by golly I started college as a Biology major and I finished it with a Biology major. I was planning on medical school and then changed that plan to PA school. I kept my blinders on and my ear plugs in, blocking out any sense of doubt about whether or not that was what I actually wanted to do. I called myself lazy and stupid for getting average grades in the Biology and Chemistry required for my major, disregarding the fact that I regularly got A+'s in several other departments. Bio and Chem were interesting to me, and I can get really science nerdy in daily conversation, but I just wasn't passionate about them. You know what I'm passionate about?
Horses. People I care about. Horses. You know what I am not currently passionate about? More school, the medical field, berating myself. You know what doesn't sound good to me? A medical practitioner who isn't passionate about what they are doing. You know what does sound good to me? Someone who recognizes their blessings and passions and runs as far as they can with them. I guess the whole point of this post is me putting it out to the universe that I am going to pursue horses, that I am going to quit beating myself up about not following the path I chose for my life 13 years ago because I thought it sounded cool and would make my parents proud. Does this mean that I will never go on to graduate school? No, that will always be an option, school will always be there, but I'm not going to let its specter be a shadow on my life. Maybe next year I will decide to go, or maybe in ten years, or maybe never, and you know what? That's ok. Something that is often on my mind is how fleeting health and life in general can be. I cherish the fact that without a 9 to 5 job I can support my husband with his passion for racehorses and travel to see him, I can rearrange my schedule at the drop of a hat to help a friend or offer support to my family. I prescribe to the mindset that the grave isn't a place to arrive at with a well preserved body and a full bank account to leave behind, but instead it is a place to slide into sideways with a beat up body, a full heart, and the knowledge that you didn't leave your dreams as dreams.
Everybody's life is their own, and I know that horses all day everyday is not for everyone. And you know what, embrace that direct paycheck deposit, embrace that thing called budgeting (because you actually know how much money you will have and when), embrace stability. I'm going to embrace long hours, mystery bruises, and the highest of highs/lowest of lows. I'm not going to regret the path I've taken to get here, I will only look back for perspective occasionally. Luckily I think my husband is finally realizing that he didn't marry a doctor, he married a hard core horse girl and I think he is ok with that. Instead of thinking of myself as someone who gave up on being a doctor, maybe I will think of myself as a sporthorse trainer who found the time to get a Biology degree, or some other new upbeat self image.
If you've made it this far, thanks for listening to my blather about personal growth. I came across a card early this year and it had one of those quotes that suddenly make this journey called life a little clearer.
Photo credit for the pictures of Slider goes to Alyssa, the other two were taken by my mom.