With the exception of the last three years, I have been in school, in one form or another, for my entire life. As I look back over the twelve years since I returned home from my LDS Mission to Leipzig, Germany, they are full of personal growth and accomplishment. During the last ten years, I have (1) learned and taught German; (2) studied Yiddish; (3) learned (some) French; (4) attended (and graduated from) Universities in Idaho, Utah, England, and Michigan– some more than once!; (5) chosen and begun a career that I generally enjoy; (6) helped bring four wonderful children to our family; and (7) obtained a more sure testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ than I ever believed possible (in spite of nagging doubts that always tempt the mortal mind). The last ten years have seen personal growth on a scale that I never imagined possible prior to my mission.
During that special time in my life, I was never content to sit around and let things happen. I was never content to just stick to the status quo. I was never content to continually run standing still.
I am not sharing this to brag, boast, or impose myself in any other way on the blogging communities of which I am part. I am sharing this to lend context to what comes next.
As 2008 begins, I feel somewhat deflated. At the heart of this deflation, occurring gradually over the last few years since I graduated from law school in 2004, I have been haunted by the following two-word question:
Unlike the previous ten years, since then I often feel like a human hamster, continually running in my exercise wheel. Running to stand still. Where is the next frontier for me to conquer? The next barrier to break through? Is all that remains for me to bill my way into partnership, trying my best along the way to learn to balance family, church, and career? To maintain the status quo without falling off the bandwagon?
I ask the advice of those who have been, or are headed towards, where I am. What have you done to continue challenging yourselves? To not be content with the status quo? How can I possibly experience as much personal growth over the next ten years as I did over the last?!?
I can think of things I want to do: read more; exercise more; learn Spanish, Latin, Greek, and/or Chinese; see Asia. But my energy is so sapped at the end of a long billable day that it’s all I can do not to come home and sink into mindless oblivion in front of the TV. During the night, there is always a child who needs a drink, has a cold, throws up, has a bad dream, etc., etc.
I am not old yet (I will be 33 later this month), but I feel tired and drained, harboring a disembodied ambition for an unknown something.