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What really is life but a series of steep learning curves? We’re born, and everything is new and hard and overwhelming, so we cry. And then we learn to hold our heads up, to sit up, to crawl, to stand, to walk. And then we start talking, and at first it’s just about our immediate focus, but then we get introspective and learn to demand what’s rightfully ours. Then it’s out into the world to make a friend or two, and boy if that’s not a challenge, maybe even resulting in getting pushed down on the playground a time or two.

Then comes school. OK, reading, got this. Oh man, now there are way more letters in each word and way more words on each page and many more pages in each book. You want me to divide how many numbers by the square root of what?? And the social navigation only becomes more difficult the more we grow and develop awareness not just of ourselves but of the game in which we find ourselves unwittingly playing.

And after high school there was college and then grad school. And the first full-time grown up job (followed of course by a slew of part-time after school and summer jobs) followed by a different opportunity followed by a misstep, and then back up the ladder I go. And now here I am, in another new job with a learning curve that the company seems to pride itself on being particularly overwhelming.

But I’m going after it, and I wasn’t as dumb and overwhelmed as I was last week, and I won’t make as many mistakes tomorrow. I’ll learn to breathe and manage, and soon the work will become rote, and I won’t have to think at all (or at least not as much about every little step, like I am now). But even then, I’ll find another step to work my way toward, be it professionally or personally, because what are people but sharks, really? Keep moving forward, or die.

It’s why I’ve lived in 4 states in as many years. Why I craved adventure. Why I keep pushing my body to do what it couldn’t before in yoga. Why I read books about grammar in my limited free time. We are designed to take it all in, process and take in some more. Harder, better, faster, stronger. New and improved. Life is built on the moments of struggle that take us to where we want to be. And sometimes, if I feel a little more overwhelmed than I’d like on a Monday evening, I can just remind myself that at one point, I didn’t even know how to speak, so look how far I’ve already come.

Dr. Seuss knows best. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”