I stare down at my 1 Subject (70 Sheet) College Ruled notebook to parentheses, canceled fractions, and flying exponents peppered across the page. If you asked me 10 years ago as a teenager crying over pre-calculus at my parents' kitchen table that I would one day actually enjoy the challenge of the GMAT's word puzzles and data sufficiency problems, I'd have told you to get your head checked.
I'm studying for the GMAT for a hopeful career in business, far from the art-therapist/psychologist-for-adolescent-girls-particilarly-Latinas trajectory I envisioned for myself in my teens and early 20's. It's admittedly enthralling to feel myself intellectually and emotionally chip away at the mental block I built in my youth, convincing myself that my strengths lay exclusively in writing, emotions, and the arts rather than hard logic of mathematics. (*Acknowledges the role of gender bias in this, but that's another conversation*). The key here has truly been nothing revolutionary, though no less valid: my choice to change my perspective about math. My choice to change my attitude. My commitment to the deliberate hard work to choose a positive, growth-mindset, driven by my larger, deep-set motivations by what overcoming this barrier will allow me to do with the business degree to which the work is essential.
As I feel my mind shift in its relationship to math, the cogs have also been changing in relation to my hometown, Austin, where I currently reside. Over the past few months, I've vacillated between desires to uproot myself from my hometown to travel all over Latin America, up-and-move to Mexico City, Seattle, San Francisco, or New York City without a plan, where "things were happening". Yes, all you new Austinites of the 110 who move here a day reading this: I'd been considering Austin a snore. "Because it's my hometown", I've stated - justifying my need to leave, many times at acmes of feelings of a lack of direction, confusion, and career insecurity.
However, I've come to a new place. I think I'm going to stay. Another GMAT -like perspective change game feels a-rumbling, calling me to put on the goggles to see what I want to see, to see and appreciate all that I have, and envision that I'm capable of creating with it.
Previous to now, I felt a prod to live by Instagram-fueled envies for the treks across sub-Saharan Africa, jumps into Mexican cenotes, and nightlife and culture in the buzz of New York City. My fear has told me to do this now, now, NOW, before my "youth" runs out. These life-changing fantasies are still very much well and alive in my head. There is nothing wrong with them. Though, I'm also finding a part of maturity is realizing that it's just as revolutionary to hold tight just a little longer; to sit with what you're feeling, and not turn to an environment change as a solution to a problem, but sometimes pivot into deeper introspection, only accessible in stillness. I feel in my bones that the answers are coming.
I choose to look at the amazing, quality friends I've made in my three years back, my generous network in the startup, business, and social innovation scenes growing more and more each day in Austin; my access to the communities that likewise value health, wellness, and balance so many flock here to embrace; the opportunity to answer calls to lead change in a city to make it what I want.
I feel more confident knowing I can handle that change, more confident knowing that sometimes I don't always need to pack up and move to escape an uncomfortable reality. Sometimes these realities are trying to tell us something - we just need to get still, quiet, and stationary enough to be able to hear it. Just as I've sat with myself to decide to deconstruct years of negative beliefs around my ability with math, I see these realities chip away with hard work, commitment and faith. I feel in my bones that the answers are coming.