Momma always said “Life is like a tree of figs.

 I’m going all literature on this post. Sorry. But if you stick with it, I promise you’ll get something out of it. Even if that something is just, “Wow! This girl is nuts.”

So to play along, read this comic. Then read my thoughts on the comic. Enjoy the glimpse into my brain.

This poem really spoke to me. I can see myself becoming the woman with the figs even though I don’t like figs. It’s so hard to choose what you want from the possibilities that lay before you. And it’s true that there is a time limit on these possibilities.

For instance, I feel like the fig of my desire to be a professional rider is withered and blackened now.  Or it at least has some bruised spots, and I can see a better fruit one branch over. The window of opportunity on that dream is closed. Perhaps at one point I could have chosen that path but that Brianna and the current Brianna are very different people, and I wouldn’t trade the current Brianna for anything. I fought too hard for her.

I think part of growing up is realizing what you don’t want to do. You can spend years slaving away at a job you don’t like for a life you don’t want because you have some idea that it will magically click one day, and you’ll live happily ever after but it doesn’t happen like that. You have to work for it. You have to find what makes you happiest. It won’t just fall into your lap.

Some people are content with the job being their life. It gives them purpose and meaning. They live the job. They love the job. And eventually they become the job. I could very easily do that. That fits my personality well. For me it’s easy to become the job and forget about trying to develop other aspects of my life. When you wake up every morning dreading your work day and only looking forward to the end of the day when you can curl up with a good book you can’t really live the job.

Unlike the poem implies, the fruit on your tree don’t all wither at once. Alan Rickman started a marketing company fresh out of school and made it a very successful business. Then in his forties he decided he wanted to be an actor. You don’t have to be stuck on the path you choose. You can pick another fig from the tree to try. Life is full of possibilities; you have to take the initiative to go after them.

A lot of people, me included, worry about leaving their mark on the world. Not in an “Oh my God! The world is ending!” kind of way, but in a way that crops up when you’re a little down as one more thing on a list of deficientcies. We want the world to remember us. JK Rowling. George Morris. Jane Goodall. All of them are remarkable people who will be remembered for what they’ve accomplished. But there are tens of thousands of people who haven’t left a mark nearly that big. But I refuse to believe that they don’t matter.

I’ve already left my mark on the world. There are people who would miss me if I were to disappear tomorrow (hopefully in time and space. I’ll be back last Tuesday). There are people who I’ve helped, people I’ve taught something to, and people who would notice that I wasn’t there. And that’s great. Do I still want to write a book? Of course I do. I’ll write a damn good one. But if it’s not popular my life is not ruined. Do I still want to train and compete my horse? Damn straight. But I’m going to do it for myself and for learning, not to try and attract the attention of rich owners.

Part of being successful in life is being happy with what you have. I have a great horse, great riding skills, and great people around me. I’m good at a lot of things when I set my mind to it. Some things I do almost perfectly first time I try them. Zip lining. Shooting. Both of those I nailed on my first attempts. Enough to impress the people who were teaching me and prompted the other students to ask me if I’d done it before. I’m a good writer. I’m a good cook. I can knit well. I’m good with directions. I know how to follow in a caravan (it seems like no one else in this world does). I am caring and generous with my time because I genuinely care about the people in my life. I don’t like all people as a rule, but the people I keep around me are people that I would go to ends of the earth to help.

I love my life. Are there things I want to change? Absolutely. And I’m on the path for that change now. But sometimes I need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. This is my life. This opportunity that I’m taking is just one of many. It is not my only option. It’s just another hill before I get to the summit with a great view. It’s a big ass hill, but I’ll just put my head down and one foot in front of the other until I make it to the top.


I Need Help

I need all the motivation I can get. So I challenge anyone reading this to make me a poster that I can hang on my wall to motivate me. Heck it doesn’t even have to be a poster. I will accept anything from a sticky note to a moose head. Actually don’t send me a moose head. The shipping would be horrendous and it wouldn’t fit on my wall anyway. You can text, call, or email me if you need my working student address.

Fair Hill Recap AKA Get a Plan and Use Your Warm Up

So Lego and I went to Fair Hill’s starter event this past Saturday. He finished third, with a dressage score of 32.9 and a rail in stadium. I finished at 8:00pm and was a zombie on Sunday.

This show definitely served as a learning experience for me. I used to think that I didn’t get nervous for shows. I was always the cool cat watching everyone else getting nervous thinking, “I’m glad I don’t get worked up like that.” I never felt nervous or pressured because I made sure to remove any expectations of me doing well. But I do get nervous. I show my nerves by backing off. I lower my expectations. I say “that’s good enough” to my horse when I should say “give me your best. Now!” We will never show our best if I continue to settle for less than our best. I need to hold Lego and myself accountable for what we can do. Which is pretty darn good work.

To overcome my nerves, I need to make a plan and stick to it. Right now I make a good plan, and then as soon as we get ready to go, I forget it and just ride by the seat of my pants. Riding by the seat of you pants is what you do when the plan goes wrong. It is not the way to make it to a Novice 3-Day. Sometimes I don’t make a plan at all because it takes the pressure off me. If you don’t have a plan, then it doesn’t matter if you don’t stick to it.

Our dressage went better than at Olde Hope’s trials, mostly because he’s had a month more of intense training since then. But I need a plan for my ride. My test went well only because we were more schooled. I rode reactively; I need to ride proactively. I need to look farther ahead than just we’re cantering now, we have to stop after B. I also need to be sure that the warm up prepares him for the test, even if it means finding my own warm up area so that I don’t have to worry about running into anyone. That should help us get better scores… I’m still going to chat up the judge, just in case.

For show jumping and cross-country, I had good plans. But I didn’t hold him or myself accountable in our warm up. I let him pull me around and lunge at fences. So on course, I just let him pull me around and lunge at fences both times. He was long and flat, and I was waterskiing.* That is why we had the rail in stadium. I let him get too flat and strung out. I think the key is to warm up well and really get him paying attention to me. Brianna Hampton, Drill Sergeant.

So after our performance at Fair Hill, Lego and I are going to take a stab at Novice at Plantation Fields starter on November 2nd. In the meantime, we have a lot of training to do. I need to start running again, and Lego needs to put on some more fat. Also I need to strengthen my core. QM anyone? I’m going to start Spidermaning up and down the barn aisle. My goal is to be able to make it down the stairs head first.

Plan on seeing a fitter, well oiled machine at Plantation Field.

*I’ve never actually been waterskiing, except on Lego. I’d like to try it though. As long as there aren’t any sharks.

Getting Pumped

So, Fair Hill is this weekend. I’m pretty excited. Lego and I are going to rock it out.

I’m a little worried that Jane might psyche me out though. I’m usually really chill about going and showing. My big philosophy is shows should be fun, not stressful.  If I haven’t learned whatever skill I need by the week before the show, it’s not going to be there for the show. And that’s fine. I can just relax and let me and my horse do the best we can.

But, Jane is a horse professional, so she puts a lot of value on doing well at competitions. She’s been trying to make sure that I’m going to remember these little details at the show. “Do you know your dressage figures?” “Don’t forget your course?” Little comments like these have been popping up all week. If I think about them too much I’m going to do poorly. She putting the pressure on me to try and do well. I believe it’s a little lesson in not cracking under pressure.

But I refuse to get stage fright. I will not let her get to me. So I’ve been just letting her comments roll over me like water. She’s only know me a month, and she’s never seen me show. And I keep thinking back to Olde Hope where I walked the cross country course once and the show jumping course exactly zero times. And yet I seemed to remember it just fine. And I believe I did not walk the cross country at Seneca Valley at all. That one worked out alright too.

And I’m ignoring all the helpful people offering the not helpful “it’s so easy to go off course.” I know that I’ve gone off course before. But you know what else is easy going on course. I’ve done Bobby’s jumper shows where we go table II 2b. You have to know the course and the jump off both. I’ve done ring crew where I’ve memorized all the courses. I’ve got this. Plus these course have numbers and flags. If I go off course I’m going to laugh. Because it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

So on Saturday, I’m going to put a little bubble around Lego and I. We are going to be the only two things on the planet that matter. And we are going to do our best and have a blast because that is what this is about. We are awesome and we’re going to do great. And it helps that I’ll have people there who will laugh with me, if I go off course.

Fair Hill Fun

Lego and I are showing at Fair Hill on the 14th. Next Saturday. If anyone wants to drive several hours on Saturday. You’ll get to see me running around like the crazy person I am. Bring me some salsa and I’ll love you forever.

The Law of Increasing Entropy

I’m slowly learning that life does not stay organized for long. Never did I think that Chemistry class would apply in real life.

But it’s true. You put things away and they always seem to make it back out. And as the law says you must add energy to the system to make it more ordered. And this doesn’t apply to just the physical world.

When I got here I had a ton of energy (Mental energy, physically I was an absolute mess. I still sort of am.) and I got a lot of things done. When I got home I unpacked, I cooked, I washed dishes, I did laundry. All the sorts of civilized things that normal people do. And I felt great about it. I felt like I had reached a new point in my life where I would stop procrastinating and sail through life doing things when they needed to be done.

Most days I live in a fantasy world. I had salsa for dinner last night. And I sat it my room writing all night. If I’d had Internet access, I probably would’ve looked at pictures of cats and videos of British quiz shows all night. I didn’t want to do anything other than veg. But I guess you must do that sometimes.

I have to make an effort to get done the things that I want to. But I guess that’s what make life interesting. The hard bits. The lazy bits. The bits where you want to shoot yourself for not taking care of something sooner. Those bits make the good bits more meaningful. If I were organized I would long for the freedom to fly by the seat of my pants. The brunettes want greener grass than the blondes or something like that.

So I’ll just have to remember to save some energy for organization, else wise my life will tear itself apart and dissolve into the void. And that sounds painful.

On a side note: I’m going to clone Clover put a copy of Lego’s brain in the clone body and name it Smooth Criminal. But I want the horse to be black and a gelding…And shorter.