What Defines You?

By Sneha

First, I apologize; I’ve been selfishly gone for a long time but don’t fret….my unique and dark perspective is back! A lot has happened in the last month: good, bad, and ugly. I tell myself my priorities are straight, I know what I want, I know what I’m doing but then bam, when you least expect it, you realize.

Even as a child, I knew I was an over-achiever. I had this incurable disease even in the dumbest of things with the toxic urge to win or be the best. Working hard and never giving up were embedded in how I was raised. As I grew up I knew I wanted to make a difference, do something for people, the environment, and our future. After law school, I took a job in public service that paid $36,000/year. I was adamant; I wanted to succeed.

It was scary. At first I had no idea what I was doing but soon realized: I love this! Criminal prosecution was fast-paced, exciting, and the daily courtroom interactions were the best part. My personality coupled with my short attention span and stellar acting skills demanded this exact environment so it was perfect. Everyday held something new: an argument, a case, or just unpredictable drama. Was it stressful? YES! But did I enjoy it? YES!

I knew this is what I wanted to do….forever.

Fast forward. I had to get out of the small town that helped mold and build this career so in 2008 I moved to Dallas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a lateral move so I had to start from the bottom up. Again I worked hard, struggled with politics, facing hurdles and bumps along the way, but I progressed slowly. Then beginning of this year I hit a wall and felt stuck. I felt like I wasn’t learning anything, I wasn’t being challenged and worse I began to question my choice. Had I just wasted the last 10 years? No! I love it! Then why am I so far into my career and feel like I haven’t accomplished anything?

Then a month ago, out of no where, in a split second it all came crashing down. I froze; I was forced to stop and look at my life. That’s when I realized I had allowed myself to be defined by this one aspect of my life: my career. A career in which I had taken so much pride: the power it entails, the changes it creates and the underlying cause: fighting for victims and demanding justice. Each case was unique and its disposition had rippling consequences not only for the accused but the families involved. I concentrated solely in advancing and growing that I never took the time to see how much I had sacrificed in its pursuit: hobbies, my personal life, my health, even at times, my family.

defineyou

I let my job define me, and for what?

Now I sit and think. I had allowed myself to be sucked into politics, promotions, and wins/losses to define my success; to define me. I had taken for granted EVERYTHING else. And for that I apologize. I apologize to my friends and family for not prioritizing you, and I also apologize to myself; I should have had more fun, lived for me and my happiness. It takes something big and sudden for us to realize and re-prioritize our life and for that I couldn’t be more thankful. The scariest part is how easy it is for us to live our lives doing the same thing; a routine no matter how miserable we are because we fear change. Even though I wasn’t miserable, I know I too feared change. That was me until now. I couldn’t be happier; scared shitless but happy.

I know realize my career was a great passion, but it wasn’t my only passion. I let one strong, hard-earned aspect of my life govern and take the driver’s seat. That split second last month changed me; it opened my eyes to what could be. I had blinded myself in working down a straight and narrow highway ignoring all the side paths, detours, signs and adventures along the way. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I’ve been given another chance. I wish I was 21, right out of college vs. mid-career/almost mid-life but hey, better late than never.

I still have tons of questions. Am I too old to start something new? What was I thinking? Had I just wasted the last 10 years of my life? Shit, it’s been 10 years shouldn’t I be filthy rich by now? Was all that hard work for nothing? Had I just wasted my 20s? Should I have gotten my MBA instead? OH NO: Will Trump deport me or worse force me to build his wall? I joke. But honestly I am truly grateful to all my friends, my sisters (blog and blood) and of course my family for sticking by me. I sometimes think that 2016 was a very long blooper and I can’t wait to start fresh in 2017! Here’s to a new start in a new year with less panic attacks, a healthier diet, no deportation and absolutely no manual labor! Cheers (yes I’m early but whatever).

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