Monday, December 26, 2011

Repost: Lessons Learned

This was a post that didn't get a lot of play when it first ran, but it was an important one to me. It was good for me to think back of the season we had just been through and evaluate what I had learned from it. Jon Acuff is promoting that Finish Year at his blog. I encourage you to go check it out and share what you want to do with others. But while we keep our eyes on the goal, don't forget to enjoy the journey as well and take as much from that as you do from the result.


A Class Room as it was back © 2007 Michel Filion | more info (via: Wylio)
I intended to blog yesterday. I had a topic picked out and was starting to work on a post (I know, I'm supposed to be ahead here. I get it.). I got a few paragraphs in and got a call from Jason.

About a month ago, he applied for a new job and we've been waiting anxiously to see if it came through. He was calling to let me know that he did indeed get the job. In that moment, my day was pretty shot because all I wanted to do was celebrate this achievement. That good news was enough to pretty much set me in a happy place all day long. (Also, not having my own laptop makes me a little crazy. Why is it so hard to concentrate on writing while using a different computer???)

I haven't written a whole lot about Jason's year and a half of school, since that's more his story that mine. But after yesterday's good news, I did start thinking about what I want our kids to take away from that long, difficult season. I came up with a few thoughts that I think are probably good reminders for me too.
  1. Education matters. Despite my hubby's excellent work ethic and job loyalty, because he hadn't finished college previously, a number of jobs that he was well qualified for were unavailable to him. Finishing a degree allowed him opportunities that he simply didn't have before. But even if the previous 18 months had not resulted in a new job, learning is never wasted. Jason's degree doesn't really have much to do with his former or new job, but the knowledge that he has still has great value.
  2. Dreams don't have an age limit. Many of Jason's classmates were very, very young (possibly embryonic) when he was in school the first time. He had some professors who were finishing up doctorates who were younger than him. But this has been something that he has wanted to do since we've been married. I'm so proud of him for not allowing his age to be an obstacle for pursuing his degree.
  3. Dreams require sacrifice. The past 18 months were hard. Working full-time and going to school full-time would be hard already. Add caring for a family to that mix and it's damn near super-human. The end result though was definitely worth it, but the season was hard on everyone and it's a good reminder that dreams don't happen without some blood, sweat and tears (or at least, the tears part. I don't think we had much bloodshed.).
  4. Other people are important for success. This year was tough, but none of us did it alone. We had to support one another right here in our family. But beyond that, we had the encouragement and help of our family and friends. The only person who could do Jason's work was Jason, but I don't believe that any of us can achieve our full potential without the help of others. We need community.
  5. Achieving your dreams is fun. Despite all of the work and sacrifice and loss of sleep and all of that, when you see something that you've poured yourself into come to life, it is exciting. It's easy to lose that sense of joy in the midst of the difficulties, but when we're pursuing our passions, we need to remember to have fun as well. To quote Dr. Seuss, "These things are fun and fun is good."
What dream are you working toward? Do you have any lessons that you have learned in pursuit of your goals?


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