The List(s)

We had a list – actually, we had three lists. Accepted. Rejected. Waitlisted.

The rejected list was small, but took a huge weight off of my chest – I didn’t have to think about moving to any of those new places. Whew.

The accepted list was longer, and looking at it sometimes felt like staring into a black hole. My brain would go fuzzy, like TV static. Some of the schools on the list were a plane ride away, some were a few hours by car, one was even in the same city where we already lived. It did not matter. I started to think about how my life would change when [REDACTED] started his “1L” and I could feel the anxiety pressing down on my chest.

The Waitlist was the douzy. Not just because it was the longest list, but because it contained so many emotions. Hope, uncertainty, despair. It felt like the whole world was riding on that stupid list.

[REDACTED] and my dream school was on The Waitlist.

His dream because it ranked highly, had high employment rates, all the right percentiles – the numbers, the facts, the figures were high. My dream school because it meant not having to move – the emotions (for me) were high. I could, at least in daydreams, keep my dream job – stay at that perfect place with its great people and awesome work.

The waiting was hard. Especially when you have family, friends, and co-workers checking in, asking if you’ve heard anything, asking when you’ll hear anything, and you don’t know.

You don’t know.

You don’t know.

The easiest thing for me to do while we waited was to sink into my warm fuzzy blanket of denial.

No decisions had been made, and no decisions needed to be made.

It was just a waiting game, and if we waited long enough maybe the waitlist would suddenly update and that dream school would become our new reality. Or, maybe [REDACTED] would come home and say “Nevermind law school! I want to be a [insert stable, well-paying, health-insurance-providing, nearby career path here.]”

That isn’t what happened, and it didn’t make our decisions any easier.

Neither did denial. Surprise. My blanket of denial was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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