Last week a man who was late bringing sacrament bread to church hit my car head-on. I didn't even watch him cross over into my lane, he was already driving in it. Fortunately we were both moving slowly because the roads were thick with snow, but it's still likely that my car was totaled.
I was upset that it happened right before finals week.

The previous Friday I experienced my semester-end review where you meet with all of the graphic design faculty in one room. I slapped my dog-eared stack of process work down on the table. One professor grabbed it and shuffled through it a bit as another stood over his shoulder.
"Laura, have you had a lot of personal stuff going on this semester?"
I lied without thought. "No, not really."
"Where is all your work? Is this it?"
My stomach tightens like it's just been punched.
"Yeah. This is it. But I feel like I've been working really hard."
"She's here all the time," another professor pipes in.
"Maybe you just have a hard time making decisions."
"Yes, that could be the case," says another.

I stayed at school that night scanning new images and checking type options until a custodian kicked me out of the building. "I will prove them wrong, I will prove them wrong," was the song I kept singing in my head over and over again.

The wreck struck me immediately as more of an inconvenience than a near-death experience or the loss of a possession. But I was instantly grateful to be alive once I stepped outside in the snow and surveyed the damage. It was bad. I couldn't believe it was actually my car once it was hoisted on the back of the tow truck.

I spent half of the following morning negotiating with the insurance company and making arrangements for a rental car.

After that, I remember only the dizzying vortex of finals week. I spent days in front of my laptop screen until Thursday afternoon when I had a therapy appointment on campus. We got on to the topic of why I am choosing to work so hard at school and where my real motivation lies. Is it really to support my future children if my husband dies? No. Is it really because I want to have a steady career upon graduation? No.

In considering my real motivation I have made some valuable conclusions:

1. I have a tendency to get caught up in things. I love to lose myself in new experiences and possess the capacity to appreciate almost anything if I only lend myself to it. I like to give my full effort to whatever I'm presently engaged in.

I think this is the real reason I married Adam in the first place. I allowed myself to get caught up in his world and he liked it and then trapped me there.
I think this is the reason it's important for me to try to stay well-rounded and pursue any new opportunities that present themselves. It insures that I won't allow myself to get trapped. It also tells me that I must marry someone who lacks any capacity to be controlling.

2. I don't think this is necessarily a bad characteristic (which is good, because it feels like an integral part of my personality.) In considering my tendency to get caught up with things, my mind crossed over the work ethic of my brother, Tom. Tom is someone who's pursued many interests and hobbies with great effort and stamina. He is not a dabbler. Tom is an expert lock picker, car mechanic, scrabble master, father, husband, medical doctor, doctor of public health, outdoorsmen, priesthood holder, clock-maker/repairman, real-estate investor, and a host of other titles in varying categories.

He certainly gets caught up in things, but the trick of the matter is that he typically gets caught up with the right things. When he was young, he fell in love with the same passion that I did, but he married wisely; to someone smart and sweet and responsible. (You're great, Keriann.)

Whenever I go for days without sleep because I'm working on a project, I think of Tom. It's always likely that he's maintaining a similar schedule.

Conclusion: I am grateful to presently pursue graphic design with a great deal of passion and freedom and will continue to do so. I am also excited for the other things I will so zealously pursue in the future.


Luke said...

I was totally riveted while reading this.

I am honored to have been with you for so much of this tornado of a week, Laura. You are the coolest and you really made things so much easier and more fun.

Also, nice Lichtenstein graphic up top :) I love that stuff.

laura said...

luke, i am likewise honored. i was recently thinking that it's sort of amazing how much fun we had together considering we only did stressful work the entire time.

and don't think you you didn't partially inspire the lichtenstein.

Cambrie said...

wow-- what a week. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

whitney joy said...

congrats on being done for the break! what are you going to do with yourself?