Value

So I just returned from spending a weekend at the Greenbrier with a friend and her family. It was a fabulous weekend and I’m so grateful for the generosity of their family. We didn’t really do much, but it was a great weekend filled with lots of good food, good people, and a nice chance to relax away from the insanity of school. This family has an exorbitant amount of money (private jet echelon of wealth) yet they are some of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met. While I was at home for Christmas I spent a lot of time reflecting on what my goals are and what really is important in life. Since coming to school freshman year, I’ve spent an obnoxious amount of time feeling inadequate and wanting to have more money than I’ll ever know what to do with. Something I’ve really struggled with, I’ve been doing my best to put it in check this year, and I read a book at home that was fabulous. Actually, the book was moderate, but the end was phenomenal and I’m glad I stayed up to finish it the night before I left (even if I only slept unnecessarily for a handful of hours). Present Value, by Sabin Willett, is a book that tackles that issue head-on and articulates far better than I can. A quote: “Perhaps finding big-V value consists of rejecting all that you have come to understand about little-v value… I realize that one has to invest in something. You cannot hedge your life as though it were a mutual fund. Where will you put your treasure?” As I said, the book isn’t on my top-10 list, but its conclusion shook me to my core. I was sitting at the club in the spa reflecting on life and trying to assess big-V value, which I think will become a life-long pursuit, and I realized that my wonderful hosts have an excellent grasp on the concept of value. They have more money than most people will ever even dream of and you’d never know it talking to them. They love each other, they’re so giving, they don’t talk about all the luxuries they experience, and they’re just wonderful.

I realize this is a ramble about how wonderful the weekend and my hosts were, but when I was laying in bed Saturday night reading Anderson Cooper’s new book, Dispatches from the Edge, I was yet again rocked to my core. The first section interchanges between his brother’s suicide when AC was in college and his coverage of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. He states that he needed to be around palpable torment to mask the torture he was experiencing and quite frankly it shut me up about my problems. I haven’t submitted any applications to law schools because I’m lazy. I am also absolutely terrified I will be rejected from every school and really have no idea what I’ll do. I do know that I’ll be a complete failure to my family, my friends, my amazing adviser, but mainly, I’ll be a huge disappointment to myself. If I had made different choices earlier in college, if I hadn’t been so totally ridiculous, I’d be applying to schools that I really want to go to, rather than schools that appreciate a shitty transcript. I’m capable of so much more than what my GPA says and I’d give anything in the world to reverse time and change everything. But I can’t do that, so I’ll just have to suck it up, finish my applications, and pray that someone, somewhere will look past my mistakes and let me in. I just need one chance. One. And I swear I’ll take it and run and show everyone what I can do. But even my law school problem, which is really enveloping my life and making me contemplate horrific things, is so minuscule in the grand scheme. Reading about the tsunami and the 200,000 people who were killed immediately puts life into perspective. It’s so cliche to say “look at my problems, oh not a big deal, look at the tragedy”, and forgetting all about in a day, but I’m going to remind myself everyday of the cruelty of this world. 200,000 people. Gone in a blink of an eye. I feel so disgustingly selfish and ridiculous. 200,000 people.

I want to change the world. My life may be one big cliche, but I legitimately want to create palpable change in this world, even for just a day, just for a few people. I don’t think I can continue to live like this – watching CNN in the day, studying, forgetting about the sheer carnage I have seen and sleeping like a baby in my nice bed worrying about law school and the thread count on my sheets. I have to do something to create change. I have no desire to do it for the recognition, no desire to prove anybody wrong about my capability of accomplishment. I only want to help alleviate the horror this world can afflict; this world that chooses its victims by a roll of the dice. I’ll do it someday, just you wait and see. Somehow I’ll accomplish that goal, I’ll find a way. I’ll find my way.

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