Most afternoons were spent alone in a stairwell, and it’s hard to admit I sat there. Alone. Every morning I packed a lunch and stuffed it in my purse, usually opting for PB&J on wheat. After a couple weeks of floating around law school, I found a quiet corner adjacent to the dean’s office where I sat in solitude. And thought.
I thought about my mom’s illness, I thought about my hibernating study habits, I thought about how much I spend at Whole Foods. I was all over the place and by the time I finished eating my apple, I was ready to head back to the library. Or just sit and wait. Sitting or leaving. Studying or running. Laughing or crying. I hardly knew what I wanted but the ache in my chest wouldn’t go away.
I’d wake every morning at 4 a.m. and drive to the gym, wait in line for a treadmill, then run. If you saw me on that treadmill illuminated by the overhead television displaying CNN, you’d think I was running from something.
Perhaps I was.
Two hours later, I’d leave my apartment–after a hot shower, a cup of oatmeal, and a good cry–and catch the campus shuttle to school. Then I’d find myself alone on the stairwell again. Rinse and repeat.
People often assume the risk I took to start my business was not returning to law school. But that’s far from the truth. I would have taken a larger risk staying in law school knowing just how unhappy I was. Sometimes we risk our dreams for safety and comfort, but I was ready to risk safety and comfort for my dreams.
Today whenever I eat a PB&J on wheat, I am reminded of my solitude in the stairwell, knowing life will always be filled with risk…it’s simply a matter of choosing which one you’ll take.
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