2018: The Year of Heart

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We humans are funny beings, ascribing arbitrary meaning to dates and seasonal periods. For whatever reason, we chose to celebrate the coming of a year at this time of the winter (I know there’s some convoluted history behind that but let’s not get into it now).

We get all excited about this transition that happens in an instant. Boom, it’s a new year. Out with the old, in with new.

I don’t quite understand the timing of it and its significance has waned for me over the years, but I can appreciate the value in closing a chapter on your life, reviewing what happened in the past revolution around the sun, and anticipating the next one.

2017 was a pretty monumental year for me. I’d say the one word I could apply to everything that happened was transformational. I explored what life in NorCal could be like, went on an incredible trip to Israel, got a chance to befriend my new bestie and travel work husband, experienced Taiwan, China, and Japan with classmates, had a fun summer interning at Cisco, lost my way when I didn’t get a return offer, began to question my identity and dreams for the future, struggled to get back into recruiting, began therapy, threw myself into building a tribe of friends, lost connection with Panda, got involved with an incredible startup and found some purpose, had an amazing getaway to Mexico, and came home to VA after a year to turn 32.

The first half of the year was so much fun and wonderful. I was making so much of the MBA experience and having a great time. The second half of the year was full of challenges that I’m still working through. A series of events triggered an identity crisis for me and I found myself drifting aimlessly, listlessly. I was still functioning at the surface level, attending to my duties as a student, eating normally, and enjoying everything I could about the social part of my program. But deep inside, I was often overwhelmed and uncertain. I clung to whatever I could that made me happy or kept me distracted. I spoke to some friends about it and eventually started therapy, but it’s a process I’m still working through.

In light of all of that, I’m looking to 2018 being the year I lead with my heart. I spent too much time caring about what other people would think, how they perceived me, and what the world expects from me. I’m trying to get out of my own head and let me heart guide the way. I want to do what feels right and good. I want to express myself authentically and vulnerably so I attract the right people to my side. I want to figure out what I need to love myself.

I’m really looking forward to two classes I’m signed up to take that I hope will help me on this journey: Fostering Creativity and Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion. It’s been a tough path for me to disassociate myself from others and learn who I am, what I am on my own. I always think in terms of how I relate to others, how they react to me, and what they think of me. So who am I stripped of that? What do I think of myself? Who do I want to be? I’m hoping that a dive into my heart will help me find these answers. It feels incredibly selfish and self-centered, but I guess that’s exactly what I need right now.

Back to blogging

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I’m getting worse with this blogging thing. How did the entire month of November go by without a single post?! Somehow since midterm season, I’ve managed to not post at all. Well, now I’m done with finals and on a vacation so I should have more time over break!

There’s only one more semester left in my MBA and before I know it I’ll be back to the working world, no longer insulated from the realities of life. I’ve existed in this delightful bubble happily and I’m not looking forward to the uncertainties of leaving, but I’m making the most of my time left. It’s bittersweet in so many ways.

For now I’m just gonna enjoy my winter break and the rest of 2017. Here’s to more blogging in 2018! 🙂

Fade

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fade poem

I try to do things for me but I want to do them for you.

So your goals become mine and I forget who I am anymore.

Instant affinity

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Sometimes you meet someone and you’re instantly drawn to them. This has been happening to me a lot lately and I can think of many people over the course of my life like that.

Today I was volunteering at a Special Olympics Volleyball Tournament and met a nice man named Jim. He was helping with ref work because his daughter was volunteering as part of her volleyball team. At first it was a few quick exchanges that were friendly. After a few of those, we found ourselves having a conversation around our involvement in the event and our minimal knowledge of volleyball. We exchanged nice to meet yous and continued with our day, only saying bye when things were wrapping up.

There was a certain sweetenness and beauty to the ephemeral interaction we had. I will always think fondly of it and maybe we’ll encounter each other at another event, but there was no need to stay in touch beyond this. Strange how much peace that brings me.

On the other hand, I met a woman in another graduate program a few weeks ago and we hit it off immediately, after only talking for 2 minutes. We got in touch with each other and grabbed lunch together recently. Somehow I knew just 30 seconds into meeting her that I wanted to be friends and I could tell she felt similarly. How do we make these snap judgments? It’s fascinating to me.

In the microcosm of school, we’re able to get in touch without feeling like it’s creepy, but in the greater world it’s often a lot harder. Somehow people aren’t as comfortable and get spooked if you come on strong. It’s an interesting dynamic to contend with. I’m not sure how I would have reacted if Jim had asked to stay in touch. I certainly would have been open to it, but it may have been too much.

Have you had these kinds of encounters too? What do you think about them?

Value is arbitrary

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I’ve been having some fascinating conversations this week about what makes something valuable. I personally believe that value is a human construct – nothing inherently has value or not, but we assign meaning to each component of our lives. Of course, with people being as different as they are, this means that everything’s value can be interpreted vastly differently.

Granted, it’s not completely arbitrary and certain things are valued for their usefulness. However, we also have such different opinions on how important uses are that the prescribed value of anything could vacillate tremendously. I mean, just look at the stock market and VC funding.

This even extends to less tangible things like relationships and experiences. We each choose to put more or less value on the people in our lives and the activities we choose to do. Someone who sees a relationship as highly valuable will be more willing to invest energy into it. Someone who treasures certain experiences would be willing to spend more time and money on it.

This can be rather tenuous – the moment we change our minds about the worth of something, it shifts our world view. Just like that, we can stop caring and pay absolutely no heed to what was once a priority. We’re really just living in a world where people generally agree to certain standards. But at any point, that could all come crashing down on us if we stop believing in the worth of whatever it is that props it all up.

The world is what we make it to be…

Second year

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School is back in session and I have yet to get into the swing of things. I still need to get course readers and other materials for class! It’s so surreal to be returning as a second year now, with half of my MBA career behind me. Bright new faces are in the midst of tackling the toughest part of the program while I’m getting the opportunity to reconnect with my classmates after a summer apart.

I’m going to cherish this year and everything it brings, because no part of my life will ever be like it again. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to have so many friends nearby and on a similar schedule. We’ve talked about hanging out and going on trips and basically enjoying each others’ company. I want to get a group together for skydiving, a Yosemite trip, a visit to Iceland, and so much more.

I’ll also be looking to establish strong relationships with the first years and accomplish some things through the clubs I’m involved with. The classes I’m taking are interesting for both personal and professional development, so I’m looking forward to that. Plus, it’s so fun to have class with people you love to be around. I really hope these are friendships that are going to last me a lifetime. I know some of them certainly are incredible and I look forward to seeing where the future takes us all. For now, I’m just trying to remember what it means to be a student because all I want to do is be an MBA! 😉

Moving On

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I’ve been planning to move up to NorCal to work at Cisco after graduating ever since I got the internship offer back in October. After working there this summer, I got back this week and learned that they decided not to extend me a full-time offer. So now that I’m a free agent looking for a job upon graduation, I’ve got a lot of options to consider.

Where do I want to live? What type of companies do I want to apply for? Should I keep looking for a rotational program?

It’s strange, having the ground shift underneath your feet. I feel like I’ve been sent into a freefall and a new world is opening up below me. It’s a brand new universe that I get to create as I fall into it, and right now I’m not sure what I want it to look like. So here I am, considering what I want it to be.

While I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the offer, I’ve never shied away from a world of opportunity, so I’m leaning in to the exciting possibilities that re-recruiting will offer me. We’ll see where I land!

Whoa

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It's my 3-year wedding anniversary and my summer internship is nearly over. Soon I'll be back in LA to start my second year at Marshall and earn that MBA.

Swoosh.

It's a feeling of loss and confusion. I've dreamt of going to b-school since I was 13 and now here I am, staring at the precipice of my goals. Some may call me foolish. "An MBA is a means to an end, not the end itself," they'd say.

Maybe.

But to me, it was a dream, a goal, an end. And it certainly marks a very treasured stage of my life. I've always been about doing things for the experience and this one is half over. I'll never get it again.

Sure, I'll go do great things with my career. I'll find joy in other experiences. Yet there's a melancholy that haunts me. Have I had a dream longer than this one? I held it for 17 long years, never wavering.

What's my new north star? What will guide me for the next two decades?? A career goal? A personal goal?

I'm excited to get back to school and my classmates. I'll cherish this year, yet every day may hurt just a little as it brings us closer to the end of this era. I hope to make the most of it, so I have the best memories to keep.

Sometimes I wish I could rewind life. Do I have to keep marching on?

Dusk

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dusk over hills with cloudsAs the sun waves its last goodbye

And disappears over the hills

The brilliant colors fade to pastels

Dusk

 

 

The temperature cools

Fireflies come out

And there’s a certain beauty

A little bit of magic in the air

 

A hectic day gives way to a quiet evening

It’s the tranquility I seek

I feel so serene, so calm

As peace washes over my heart

 

In that moment, it’s all I need

Dusk.

That girl with purple hair

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As a treat to myself for a job well done presenting to a VP and to celebrate the holiday weekend, I finally tried purple hair a week ago. I’ve gotten highlights and streaks of color before, but never done my full head. I was inspired by a co-worker who has dark purple hair, which is quite subtle. Mine came out brighter than I wanted, but I’ve grown into it and quite like it. In fact, I often forget my hair looks like this now. What do you think?

Before…

After!

Kitty lovin’

Celebrating the 4th with very patriotic purple.

Glowing purple.

First day at work like this!

I then spent a day exploring Lands End in all my hues. 🙂

And finally, I managed to match the tables at an MBA mixer BBQ. >.<

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