Exit Strategy

Few people I know are coming out of the past 3 years the same people they were on the way in. Almost everyone I know has experienced highs, lows, and wildly unpredicted changes to the life they once knew. I’m no different. There have been times that have made me question my personal choices, my professional choices, and occasionally, my sanity.

A couple of months ago, any sense of security I started to regenerate was shattered by a school shooter at the university that’s been part of my life for ALL of my life. I grew up 10 minutes away, I earned 4 degrees here, and my entire career has been connected to the MSU campus. This shooter, with no connection to the university at all so far as anyone knows, walked into one of the few constants in my life and left death and devastation in his wake.

Thankfully, I’ve learned some things courtesy of the pandemic. As hard as COVID was and as devastating as the shooting’s aftermath has been, I’m not letting either horrific tragedy get the best of me. Like everyone around me, I’ll grieve what has been lost, but I’m not setting up camp in that grief.

I’ve learned to slow down and taken a hard look at things I have been trying to “outrun” or avoid through the better part of a lifetime. Over scheduling and fear of failure were big, as was losing myself in an attempt to please others. I’ve decided that in spite of everything (and as always) I’m going to find something positive from all of this. Life is far too short.

Like many, I’ve been riding a wave of uncertainty for 3 years. More like 4 if you count the (literal) young horse in the mix. Truthfully, though, I’ve realized I don’t love riding young horses, because many are all uncertainty most of the time. It’s great for those that enjoy it…but it’s not for me.

At the same time, though, life is and has always been uncertain. We might find safety in trying to control our environment, but it can all change in the blink of an eye regardless. One minute you’re coasting along, comfortable in your nicely bedded, 12 x 12 box stall, and the next you’ve been literally kicked “out of the box stall” to stand in the rain and wonder what happened. And you’ve got roughly three choices…you can stay in one spot and ask why, you can lay down and quit, or you can let life show you something better. Sure, you might get cold and wet and miserable in the process, but keep going. It can’t (and won’t) rain forever. When the young horse has more time or you find a more suitable option, you won’t take it for granted for one second. Because you’ll know it can all change in an instant. The best you can do is enjoy each moment as it happens, and be as kind as possible, even to yourself. Those are the only true certainties in life.

3 Comments on “Exit Strategy

  1. Awesome metaphors mixed with reality… sometimes the lines between are very blurry… hang in there and know that your friends from well beyond the 3-4 years you are talking about are still in your back pocket (and yet miles away)…😀😉

  2. Do what I did; when you gt to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on..

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