Thursday, August 5, 2010

25 Years of Life: A Reflection

Last year on my birthday I wrote a blog post reflecting on 24 years of life. I enjoyed writing it so much, that I figured it would be a good tradition each year to use my birthday as an opportunity to reflect on my life. I'll most likely keep this entry much shorter than the one I did last year.

in my mind, life is a culmination of successes and failures. The successes are moments where, perhaps against odds, perhaps despite the temptation to do otherwise, a person does the right thing and accomplishes something worthwhile. There can be different measures of success, some successes might be as simple as doing a homework assignment for a class when you are feeling lazy. Other successes could be huge, like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. My life has contained several successes. I'm going to outline a few of these now.

Completing my mission was a huge success. There were moments on my mission of absolute despair where I felt like giving up. I felt like I was not up to the task and that I was not qualified to do the work I was doing. Mostly, I realized that my shyness really hindered me, and I worried that it placed an unnecessary burden on my companions who inevitably had to pick up my slack. However, I stuck with it. Not only did I simply manage to last two years, but I accomplished much good and learned several valuable lessons. Sometimes I don't realize how much of an accomplishment this truly was.

Another success involves my experience at college. It was a victory just to get accepted to BYU, which required me to perform well in High School. However, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology just a few months ago. This achievement required a great measure of sacrifice as I took a lot of time to study and write papers to make sure I understood the material and could pass my classes. I survived a difficult stretch of time where I abandoned my first major and searched desperately for a new one. But, once I chose Psychology, I knew there was no more time to waver from that choice and I needed to stick with it until the end. I am proud that I did, and I need to make sure to use this success as a foundation for future success.

It was also a success to get the job I had at Independent Study. I am the first to admit that I struggle when it comes to getting a job. My shyness tends to make it difficult for me to be able to ask for applications or to do well in an interview. But, I felt that I pushed through my discomfort and did all I could to make sure I would get that job. And I performed well within the job so that I could keep it for the duration of my time at BYU.

There are more successes in my life, but these are the ones that particularly stick out. However, life is made up of failures too, and I've had my fair share of them. When it comes to failures, the important thing is to be able to learn from them and not dwell on them and let them consume you. This is my great challenge in life. I have a tendency to look at all my past failures often and feel that they define me more than my successes do. For some reason I highlight my failures and come to the unfair conclusion that I am a bad person.

Some notable failures include when it took me five tries to pass my drivers test. This may seem trivial now, but I still cringe at the thought of the minor mistake I made on each test that led to me getting rejecting. It was tough to deal with at the time, and there was a point where I thought I would never drive. Another failure is specific points on my mission where I was unable to get over my fears of talking to people. I would have my companion talk to people when I couldn't. I felt uncomfortable when I was taken out of my comfort zone and had to go on exchanges. There were moments where I felt that if I didn't have a companion at all times who was extremely skilled and spiritual, I would have nothing to show for my two years of service.

I feel I failed at dating. I put my heart out there and was rejected, and I still don't really understand why. All I can conclude is that I was just too inexperienced and shy to be able to fulfill her needs. I feel like a failure especially this summer as I have been unsuccessful in my job search. I have applied to several places, but fear once again keeps me from doing all that I could be doing. I also fear that I have made the wrong choice of a major and that I now don't have the necessary skill to have a good career.

But, even though my failures are many, I need to not let them define who I am. I need to learn from these mistakes, and remember that there have also been numerous successes as well. And, if I have been able to succeed in the past, there is certainly hope for success in the future. My life has been full of ups and downs, moments of perfect happiness and what felt like endless despair. But, it is important that when I look back, I emphasize the high points and remember that I am a good person who has true potential. Yes, I have failed, but so has everyone. The true test is how I deal with these failures. If I feel that my life is defined by my failures, I am doomed to re-live them. But, if instead of dwelling on them, I can learn from them, I can turn them into successes and have a much happier and fulfilling life.