My first year of law school was easily one of the most challenging years of my life. It wasn’t enough that a self-proclaimed nerd like me could barely keep up with the 200-pages-per-day assignments. What killed me was the commute. Every morning at 8am, I got on the road to make the 35 minute drive to school in D.C. and make my 9am class. And every day I embarrassingly walked into class 15 minutes late. Each day I awkwardly took the leftover seat in class, I credited the lateness to the two,three,four car collision on 495. My GPS wasn’t lying. A 35 minute drive will one day be just that. A 35 minute drive. But it never happened. And soon enough I almost became comfortable being late. After all, to me, this was the most I could do to stay sane. I read and case-prepped till 1am, slept till 7am and left at 8am. I was stretching myself thin to balance it all. And doing it the only way I knew how.
Then, one conversation created wiggled-room in an isolated line of thinking I didn’t even recognize I had. In a casual conversation with my mentor, I found out I had been doing it all wrong. I could take a different route. In fact there were 3 other alternative routes. By the time I was accorded this insight and by the time, I dared to try the new route, I had wasted 9 months frustrated at my inability to make my drive 35 minutes. And for the remainder of my days as a law student, my drive was what the GPS said it was going to be. I’m not sure why I never thought of taking a different route. It was maybe because change is scary. Even change as simple as a different route.
What this seemingly senseless experience taught me is that sometimes when failure or disappointment is repetitive, it’s because the method is also repetitive. For almost a year, I took the same route to D.C. at the same time of day and hoped for different result each time. But why would there be a different result when I wasn’t doing anything different? It’s an inspiring revelation that has followed me since then. In my work, and in my relationships. In everything I seek to achieve and fall short, I have learned not to get comfortable in the fact that I have failed but to ask myself what I can do differently. If I can help it, I would never accept defeat again.
Even past my commute in D.C. traffic, this principle is easily one I credit to finding my soon-to-be husband. I opened my mind and opened my heart. I looked to accept love in a novel way and after it settled in, I realized it is truly the best I’ve ever had. Despite past failures, I didn’t give up. STILL, I refused to “travel” this relationship the way I “traveled” the last. I took the lessons I learned and applied them in my approach to loving him and it led me to a level of love and commitment I never fathomed . This same principle I apply to sustaining a soon-to-be marriage because I am learning that loving someone eternally will require a mind that is open to different channels….to accommodate their growth….to work hard to love them despite my flaws and theirs…to grow with them…to sacrifice… To love.
This thing I’ve described in long paragraphs….this thing where you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result….Albert Einstein calls it the definition of Insanity. In life, there are so many things yet undiscovered. So many paths yet to be traveled. A newness yet to be savored. Open your mind. Give him/her/it a chance. Move. Travel. Dare to take a hike from your old routine, mentality, or founded conclusions. Dare to quake your comfort level. Dare to seek a different result.
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