Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.

Margaret Thatcher

As I mentioned on Saturday, I presented at my first academic conference. Many of my peers have done it in past years, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity before I graduated. I had to be there all day even though my time to present wasn't until late afternoon. I felt cool, calm and collected for the duration.  Well . . . until about a half hour before I was due to present. Crowds make me nervous. What if people don't like/understand/agree with my research? What if I come across as incompetent? I went into it thinking it was going to be the longest hour of my life.

It was amazing. The information flowed. I found my groove. Before I knew it, I was done. My professors and fellow students showed real interest in my topic. I also met some non-academic folks who soaked up my research. I had a blast! Who knew?! Saturday ended up being a really profound day.

Afterward, the boys and I headed to a newish brick oven restaurant we have been meaning to try. It was the perfect way to end a great day. The food was off the hook.

I had an amazing cranberry mojito and a mushroom pizza that made me swoon.  The boys devoured their food . . . Mr. Picky declared that it might just be the best pizza he's ever had.

It wasn't just about the food, however. Something happened during that lovely dinner. A shift of sorts. You see, as I sat there basking in the glow of my academic accomplishment, a sudden and unexpected clarity overtook me. The 12th grade English teacher who accused me of plagiarizing because my paper was “too good” to have been written by me? The uncle-in-law who likes to diminish me as a person and a student? Anyone and everyone who has ever sold me short? They were rendered completely irrelevant to my life in that moment. Because I realized that I have amazed myself. And that is no easy feat.

I have reached every goal that I set for myself thus far; some of which I didn't even know I aspired toward. Did it take me awhile? Sure. But I did it. All of it. To be able to look back with no regrets and only good vibes for the future trumps peripheral judgments. Because, in the end, the only person I have to prove my worth to is me. Any person who wastes precious time trying to make another human being feel inadequate is a deeply insecure one, indeed. Happy people simply don’t make others feel less than. 

Five years ago I was a rather lost soul. I wasn’t living life with purpose or intent. I wasn’t fulfilled on a personal level. Out of that desperation came focus, and the realization that I was the only one with the power to change my course. So I did. And it sucked at times. It was hard. But I didn’t quit. And now I have a future to show for it. Thank goodness I held on during the hard times. Next to my boys, graduating next month will be my greatest accomplishment thus far.

For the first time, perhaps ever, I am positive I will get into grad school. Because I have worked hard and have a ton of accomplishments to my credit. We will find the perfect place to live and build a life. My dreams will be realized.

The single greatest lesson I have learned over these past few years is this: I create my own happiness. I know, I know. We've all heard it a million times. I suppose I was a little slow to catch on. Because it seems that I spent a long time waiting for something to happen. For joy to magically infuse me. It didn't. Turns out, it isn't about where I live or what I have, but rather, who I surround myself with and what I have done with this life of mine. That's true for all of us.

I purged wrote this post over a quick lunch at a local Japanese restaurant this afternoon. Apparently the fortune cookie gods really wanted to make sure I got the message. That I believe my own words. Two identical fortunes, one cookie. Got it.

You probably thought this was going to be a simple restaurant review . . . and it got really deep, really fast.  Introspection seems to sneak up when I least expect it.


  1. I am so glad that your presentation went well!! :) Wonderful news. :)

  2. Congrats on the successful presentation, and most importantly your state of personal satisfaction. That is rare indeed. Also, lovely pics!

  3. I am so happy to hear that it all went so well Sarah. You are indeed going places!!! :-)

    1. Thanks, Natalie! Your comment made my day!

  4. I recognize that I am in charge of making myself happy - but it is easier said than done. You deserve a confident pat on the back for what you have accomplished. Having the support of your boys is huge, and with it you can not fail.

    Nice food pictures too.

    1. Hi Nicki! You're right. It certainly is easier said than done. I often blame my circumstances for my discontent. It usually takes a big reality check to realize that I am in control of how I feel and how I perceive the world around me. Those boys have been everything. They make me want to be the best possible version of myself.

  5. YAY YOU!!!! So glad everything went well :) And UM, AH-MAZING! That food looks soooo goood!


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