Have you noticed that some years end with a bang, while others sneak upon you with nary an announcement of their arrival? This year, 2014 felt like the latter, maybe because of the timing (it did happen to fall almost in the middle of the week), or because aspects of 2013 were still up in the air when the new year arrived (like my law school grades). It’s hard to look forward to a new year if you aren’t certain how much of what you did the year before needs to be changed, since I’d put in all this effort into doing well my first semester of law school but had no objective feedback.
Thankfully, I did NOT fail out of law school. Even better, I managed to scrape by without any C’s. True, there’s the expression that “C’s get degrees,” but I was hoping that I would find a way to do better than what my inner critic was convinced I would do (then again, my inner critic is usually expecting doom and gloom, in sharp contrast to my inner optimist which says I’m probably doing fine). So what exactly does 2014 hold for me?
On a broad level, for the first time in my life I don’t know and I’m actually ok with not knowing. I’ll try to do well my first year of law school, and try to ignore the insanity that I know is around the corner: “Do you have a summer job yet? I do! Where at? Why aren’t you doing a judicial externship?” I’m tired of stressing to conform to fit into a box that I don’t think actually suits me in the long run, given what I would want to accomplish through my legal career.
On a more micro level, I’m aware that last semester, I really hated how I’d fallen away from being able to complete basic aspects to practice my faith, and it stressed me out. It wasn’t until I was in the throws of my law school finals that it hit me how much for me personally, faith and spirituality are tied up together. As soon as I fell out of step with doing the basics, I fall to pieces.
It is important for me to be able to attend mass more than once a month, and I am planning on attending more regularly. It keeps me grounded to feel like I can turn to God, if need be, because I have had to throughout most of my life. My strength comes from within, and it comes from whatever Divine power that exists. There are countless instances in my life that have led me to the point where I don’t doubt in the power of God, and in my time off I’m grateful to have had the ability to reflect on why it matters to me and what steps I need to take to cultivate that relationship. As the adage goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, and that is the sanest way I feel I can describe spirituality to a non-believer. I’d go into more details, if anyone’s genuinely interested. I’ve just come to peace with the fact that if I manage to dig myself out of the gutter, it’s because of divine intervention.
Which brings me to the major bone I have to pick with a quote by Fernando Pessoa: “We are two abysses – a well staring at the sky.” The concept is akin to Oscar Wilde’s “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” The Wilde one is the one I prefer, because wells are stationary, they cannot move. There is a hope, a desire for a struggle, that is encapsulated in the latter quote that the former ignores. It’s not easy pulling yourself out of poverty, and making choices that run counter to what your family would advise you do because it is the unknown road. But! The stars, light years away, beckon me to strive for something more than a rooted existence.
After all, what’s the point of having the capacity to make new year’s resolutions if it is not also within our capacity to ensure we can actually keep those resolutions?