I believe in getting yourself in over your head

Author: Alexis Lohse, TCU Student, Political Science Major, Published Fall 2012

I believe in getting yourself in over your head. I can say with all honesty that the best decisions in my life have been made during situations of extreme discomfort or duress. These have been times when I was confronted with new and sometimes frightening circumstances, often of my own making and sometimes quite intentional. Eleanor Roosevelt once quipped, “A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” Thanks to these trials, I have learned the true strength of my intelligence, patience, and perseverance.

The first time I was truly tested was at the age of 23 when I was married to an alcoholic and became pregnant. Up to that point, my life had been an aimless string of events and dead-end jobs, a period of time marked by a distinct lack of concern for my present and even less concern for my future. With the unexpected appearance of a “+” on the test strip, I instantly realized the gravity of my situation. Everything had changed. It was time for me to step up, whether I felt ready or not, because life was no longer just about me.

The subsequent 2 years of my life were an arduous metamorphosis. I managed a healthy pregnancy (without insurance), I gave birth to an 8 lb. baby (at home), I got a real grown-up job at an insurance company, and I divorced my husband. It was scary, it was difficult, and it was absolutely worth it.

More recently, I have intentionally created situations where I had to succeed under threat of fantastic failure. In the last 4 years, my life has undergone yet another total metamorphosis. After working in the marketing department of that same insurance company for over 5 years, I realized a change had to happen. I wanted more from life and it was time to challenge myself again. On a whim, I bought a house from my (new) in-laws and moved my family to Fort Worth. After trying for 10 months to find local employment, I eventually quit my steady job in Austin and went back to school at the age of 30.

The increased responsibility of a mortgage and the decreased security of a steady corporate job have made for some ulcer-inducing months, for sure. More than once I have wondered if I am being unreasonably selfish by pursuing my education at the expense of the financial security of my family. My parents never went to college, so I am striving to set a good example for my girls by getting my degree. I can only hope my daughters see how hard I am trying and are internalizing the same work ethic.

I know this is not the last time I will challenge myself. Even at my advanced age (31!), I will have many more opportunities to get myself out of (self-inflicted) hot water. I may not always succeed, but I am certain I will be better for having tried.

I Believe in Taking Risks

Author: Britt Luby, TCU Staff Member, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life

Published: November 6, 2012

I Believe in Taking Risks, by Britt Luby, TCU Staff Member, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
Street food. One-way plane tickets. Rope swings. If you don’t do it now you’ll regret it for the rest of your life on repeat in my mind as I untie my shoes, roll up my jeans, and run to dip my toes in frigid ocean water. Mountain climbing, thesis-writing, cross-country moving, things that seem too big to undertake that somehow become smaller and smaller in size with every step. Slacklining, skinny dipping, snowshoeing, trying new things to make sure that I’m not missing out on the most important thing, that one experience that will bring more joy and pride and excitement than I could ever imagine.

I believe in taking risks. I believe that it’s okay to study abroad in Spain even if you’ve never taken a Spanish class because by the end of your journey you might just leave pieces of your heart swirling in cups of ruby-red sangria. I believe that it’s possible to convert an electric clothes dryer cord from four prongs to three with just a few words of encouragement from the man at the hardware store (and a quick phone call to dad) and that converting that power cord might just make you more proud of yourself than the day you graduated from college. I believe that when you drive down the coast of California, you should observe one rule: stop whenever and wherever you want. That way, you can stick your finger in hundreds of slippery sea anemones while starfish in every color watch. And even if you are late to your final destination, it’s good, it’s really good, because that sun setting over the Pacific is spectacular. I believe in staying up too late the night before a big exam because having a conversation with that boy, that sweet boy, seems more important that bivariate data analysis and maybe, just maybe, you’re going to marry that boy someday.

In a few short months, that sweet boy and I will join the Peace Corps, pack up our entire lives into four suitcases, and move to Morocco. This seems like one of my biggest risks yet, but it certainly won’t be the last. Not if I’m lucky. Because I believe that there are too many beautiful, wonderful things on this ever-spinning planet and that the only way to soak it all up, to feel the heartbeat of the earth pulsing in your veins, is to try as many of those things as you can every chance you get.

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IMG_5548 EditBritt Luby is an Associate Chaplain in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at TCU.  A graduate of TCU and the Graduate Theological Union, she served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco.