A visit to Southern California can be challenging to a 31 year old’s self esteem. After all, plastic surgery quick stops are located on every other street corner. You are hard pressed to meet someone who doesn’t have Botox injections on a regular basis. Since I have been feeling far from slender and attractive lately, it certainly isn’t easy to see expectations of physical perfection every direction that I look. I am the kind of girl who can’t last with perfect nail polish for five minutes after getting a manicure/pedicure. Nope. I smudged my big toe’s maroon polish before I left the spa.
But the biggest challenges are not of a physical nature. Rather, it is being reminded of all that I have not accomplished with my academic talents and pursuits. I can handle the physical imperfections, because after all, that isn’t into what I have invested my significant time. It is the fact that as a thirty one year old, I haven’t accomplished the great things that I always assumed that I would with my life. I also am painfully aware that it is only because of my own laziness in not taking advantage of every opportunity that I was given.
Certainly, Southern California is not generally the location where one painfully rehashes her own intellectual failures. After all, there, much of the population’s vocabulary merely consists of four letter words. However, my weekend in Southern California wasn’t spent among the Valley Girls and Beach Bums (although I saw enough of them in passing). Carl and Lauren’s wedding brought together some incredibly intelligent and talented people. Amongst the Rhodes Scholars and the Fullbrights, my conversation was borderline ridiculous. It was like me trying to talk to the 13 year old DC girls all over again; instead of talking about pie this time, I rambled on about wedding shows and other such nonsense. I felt sufficiently like I was the jester, instead of someone more suited for civilized company, that I posed like this for a picture:
Seriously, what is wrong with me?
After my thirty one years of being lazy, I am more resolved than ever to finally be serious about things so I might actually accomplish something with whatever time I have remaining. Sure, it might be too late for that Rhodes Scholarship, but it isn’t too late for me to actually get my act together with writing the article that Amanda and I need to get out to Law Library Journal. It isn’t too late for me to be the best Legal Research professor that I can be.
I may never hold that Ivy League degree that I always secretly craved to feel some vindication of my own intelligence. And yes, I will always possess that wonderful talent for complete awkwardness in most social situations. I will also continue to revere and admire those whose abilities have transcended the weaknesses that I possess. But, I will try to refrain from sticking my butt out and holding my hand in some awkward thumbs up position, as if I am trying to visually reassure myself that I am okay.