Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I’m a big Billy Joel fan. I’ve grown to love a lot of classic pop/rock music that my dad enjoys. Although I know a good amount of Billy’s music for the average 22 year old in 2011, my dad introduced me to this song merely days ago by happenstance. It started to play during our drive home from Chicago; he turns to me and says, “This song’s for you.” (In case you didn’t know, I’ll be heading to Vienna soon for volleyball)

I take after my dad quite a bit, and being a planner and over achiever has not been lost on me. The song was special for my father when he first heard it. He stumbled upon it in college, and although I don’t know the details, I can only assume it reflected his frantic college life and impending future.

Which is exactly where I was (and in ways still am).

I have ALWAYS been in a preparation mode. ALWAYS. Let me show you:

I started asking my dad to put part of my birthday money in my savings account in 4th grade to save for my future. In junior high I took as many advanced courses possible that allowed for high school credit.

I was planning to receive either a full academic or athletic scholarship for college in 8th grade. I stuffed my already busy volleyball schedule with Yearbook Staff, Student Government, J. Kyle Braid Leadership, and Psychology Club to pad my future application. I made a deal with my dad (circa 12 yrs old) that upon receiving said full scholarship, he would reimburse me with a car of my choice (within reason).

I completed all of my required high school credit a full semester before graduation, so I decided to graduate early and enroll in college a quarter early. I packed as much school and experience into college as I possibly could. I enrolled early to UW’s Michael G. Foster School of Business and completed the coursework as quickly as possible.

By my sophomore year I was increasingly concerned about professional networking- so I packed in an internship, several job shadows and networking events. I took these steps knowing in the back of my head that if, for some reason, volleyball didn’t work out in a professional sense, that I would be near-ready to get a big girl job out of school. (even though I could not  <and still cannot> answer the question: So what is it you want to do?)

I ended up leaving college the January of my senior year- that’s 2 quarters before the typical schedule, and headed to USA Volleyball for 5 months. (I still had 2 independent studies to finish during the first 3 months of the training. I did complete those and returned to walk in the Commencement Ceremony in June.)

I decided what pro team I’d be playing for in early June and have been preparing by working out and training on my own all the while. One requirement in choosing my Pro team was playing in a certain league that would increase my exposure so I could play in an even higher league next season. *I have not even played my first Pro Season and I’m already planning my second. This is a RED FLAG*

My entire life I’ve been preparing for the next step. When I was halfway through college I was already staring at the light at the end of the tunnel– knowing there were options, but no clear cut path. As that light continued to get closer (I had 2 full years watching that light creep towards me) I became exponentially freaked out.

Luckily, some magical and logical steps started to unfold at the end of college, and now I’ve started the next leg of my journey.

Having had an actual summer for the first time in years, some free time, and with Vienna actually waiting for me, this song has come alive for me like it did for my dad. I don’t want you to think that I haven’t enjoyed my journey or haven’t stopped to smell the roses, but I’ve realized there is great importance in enjoying the moment and taking a break from trying to get ahead. It’s much easier said than done (especially for me), but I’ve seen what life is like trying to look 10 steps ahead.  Sometimes the step you’re on is just perfect to stop and take a breath.


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