U2 has a great song (well, one of many) called Stuck in a Moment.

You’ve got to get yourself together,

You’ve got stuck in a moment, and you can’t get out of it.

Don’t say that later will be better, now you’re stuck in a moment, and you can’t get out of it.

Those lyrics have rung true a few times before…teen angst, break ups, family issues…

And well, now again.

For those of you keeping track, I received replies from all of the graduate schools I applied to for Fall 2012.

I was rejected from all seven programs.

I could heed U2 – really try to un-stick myself- but wow, this is a bit of a larger rut than normal.

For years, since the beginning of undergrad in ’04 actually, I’ve been steadily planning to pursue a PhD in Organizational Psych/Organizational Behavior. I methodically mapped out the courses to take, read the readings, completed the thesis, fulfilled internship requirements, attended a Masters program, read the latest literature, joined the APA, worked hard on an independent proposal and study, found a job in a research related field, honed my skills…

But the universe has decided otherwise.

Now to be fair, I struggled with the GRE (took it a few times), and I knew that at this stage, my scores alone could be enough to thwart my admission chances. But I hoped for a a holistic review, and I hoped that my GPA, experience and thirst for knowledge and furthering the field, would carry me through.

Close – I made it to the 3rd round at one school – but no cigar.

Also, a few months ago I began wondering whether this path I had so meticulously adhered to and set into action, was still the best fit for me. These thoughts came about due to my physicality (the post-effects of my accident in 2009, which I still can’t fully disclose but the lawsuit is nearing closure, so I’ll write more soon), my life goals, and my relationship with Dan. I know that I will forever need a very flexible professional situation from now on – I can’t sit for long periods of time, nor stand; I don’t want to be married to my work but I want something intellectually stimulating and self-fulfilling that helps others; and I want a strong, stable partnership with someone I love (plus, great friendships and colleagues). And I wasn’t sure a PhD in Org Psych/OB would fit those criteria anymore.

But, what do I do when the stoplight flashes red without a green arrow to follow? Or even a yellow?

I have no side project I’ve been nurturing, no Plan B.

What now?

On the one hand, I’ve been given the ultimate golden ticket – the pass to pursue whatever I want, because I “completed” the entirety of my prior task/journey, and that chapter can be closed with me knowing I did everything I could. Now I can go uninhibited and without regret into the future, the bright, big, shining future.

Here’s the thing – what future?

When you’ve been holding onto something for so long, building into your life, your identity, it’s very hard to let it go. Even if doing so feels a bit freeing. Even if doing so feels a little more right.

Where to now?

I don’t know…I’ll have to figure things out. Or as Dan said, “we’ll figure it out.” I should allow him to help me with this – I have to be willing to break free of my past and embrace something different.

Sigh…change is a challenge, especially when my first instinct is to revolt at all costs, kicking and screaming. “No, no, no!”

But, what can I do. To spend lots of energy on self-pity, stubborn attachment to what no longer exists, and pining for things that will not be, while gratifying to the sorrowful ego, is hardly food for self-improvement.

But how do you pick up the pieces of a dream that has died?

Do you cradle them and try to piece them together with glue?

Or do you pick them up at all? Do you leave them by the wayside? Do you give them a funeral?

Or do you wave goodbye and move forward hoping to find a new dream further on?

Life seems to provide more questions than answers. On I go.

Thanks for reading, S


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About regulardaze

Hi, I'm Sarah. I enjoy photography, dancing, travel, theatre, delicious food, and learning (constantly, about almost everything imaginable). I currently live in Austin, TX. Thanks for sharing in my thoughts and adventures! :)

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