lauren spitler

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Victories

I do not write regularly scheduled blog posts, which if you follow this page in some regard, you will know. I write when something specific has been on my mind, and tonight it's the idea that we need to celebrate the small victories in life.

I wrote a post awhile back and left it as an unpublished draft. I revisited it before opening the blank page for this post, and it actually covers a lot of the same material I want to write about now. Clearly, this has been on my heart for longer than I realized.

To start, nobody is going to celebrate the little things in your life. The little changes, moments of growth, glimmers of hope. At least that is what I've come to expect. People from the outside perspective want to see something noticeably different before they acknowledge, let alone celebrate. If you have somebody in your life that DOES celebrate you and the little things, don't let them leave your life! I have a few people like this, and they are truly special.

If you know a little about my story, you'll know that I took a break from school that became a longer break, and turned into a number of jobs occupying my time instead. During this time away from school, I've seen other people go on to accomplish great things. People my age have graduated from their respective schools, and became a professional in their field with their full-time jobs and careers. Others have continued on in their education to do post-grad work. Some are married, some are expecting children, and a small amount have already expanded their families with little ones. 

Now cut to me.

After years away from school, I started to look into the process of going back for classes. I applied and got accepted, and that's where I'm at now. I haven't registered for any classes because I need to meet with an admissions counselor to get an idea of where I am and what I need to take next. I haven't had the time to do that meeting yet because I've been busy working during office hours. 

For me, deciding to go back to school was a small victory. Looking into a school? Small victory. Actually applying? Small victory. Getting accepted? Small victory.

None of these things in and of themselves is huge. At the end of the day, I still don't have a college degree, and that is all some people see.

There is no glory in the process. Until I have something to prove that I did it, that I finished what I started years ago, some people see no change.

While everyone else was going on to do great things with their lives, I was comfortable just kind of staying where I was. They got the trophies, and I got the participation certificate. 

During this time I've been away from school, I have been asked by a number of people, countless times, "When are you going back?" "Are you going back this semester?" "Have you decided where you are going to go?" I've been handed course catalogs, and told when the respective deadlines are for applications. It's been draining to have to respond with the notion that I'm not ready and not looking to go back that semester to a school I didn't know about, doing a major I didn't feel ready to decide.

Flashback to the moment I actually applied to a school more recently. I secretly couldn't wait to tell certain people that I was doing this. I mean, I was finally doing what they wanted for me, and what they saw best. SO... color me surprised when I was greeted with criticism, arguments, and shaming instead.

Like, what???

I mean, I wasn't expecting a party, or applause, or showered praise, but to look down on my plans and treat me like I'll never be successful now is crazy! I want to say to people sometimes, "you heard the part about how I'm going back to school though, right?? You know, the thing you've wanted me to do for years? It's going to happen! You wanted this for me, and it's happening! So… where do you get off being rude to me about it now?"

Maybe it's because I'm not pursuing a business degree and I'm going to do something "creative" (aka a degree some people view as fluff, a waste of money, and useless). 

Speaking of celebrating the small victories! In high school, I took AP Calculus. If you know me, I hope you just had a good laugh. See, I'm not a math person at all. I know that, and it was made painfully obvious when I seemed to be the only student struggling in the class. My mind doesn't think that way. While taking notes in class, I would usually draw something each day on my sheet. I'm going to be honest; it was usually a colorful monster with a funny name. It was always something quick and fun just to make me smile. See, the other students around me would work on problems together and bounce ideas and solutions back and forth with ease, while I sat there with whiplash from watching and a headache from lack of understanding. I would try and keep it light as a way to just get by... ahem, participation certificate please! In class, I learned to celebrate EVERY small victory that came my way! I got a problem right! SCORE! My graph's picture looks just like the teacher's? HALLELUJAH! I definitely didn't excel in this class, but I made it through, and I made it through with a few laughs at the end of the day because I chose to celebrate the little things. 

With this whole school/life update thing, I forgot that not everyone looks at life that way. Some people are never going to be satisfied with my life choices, and that is TOTALLY okay! I'm not trying to over-glorify my recent progress in life, because I know that relatively speaking, it's not a lot, but in MY life and after the years of indifference and lack of motivation in this category, this is HUGE. I'm going to celebrate it that way.

It may be a party of one, but I'd rather that than a room full of party-poopers raining on my parade. 

Things for me still aren't completely finalized, but I'm almost there, and I'm choosing to look at all of the small victories with pride.

x Lauren
 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_04.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_07.jpg  photo s_08.jpg  photo s_09.jpg  photo s_10.jpg