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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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What we can learn from lobsters

Bre Goodwin

A colleague of mine recently told me that she taught her students about lobsters. I looked at her quizzically as we power walked towards our classrooms together and wondered how this eccentric woman could possibly tie lobsters into one of her lesson plans. The goal, she told me, was to teach her students about growth. She explained to me that a lobster is just a mushy animal beneath their hard shell. Now I’m a curious person, but I’d never actually given much thought to what lobsters look like beneath their shells. Mushy sounds about right.

 As those mushy lobsters grow bigger, their shells become too small and uncomfortable for them to continue living in. The lobsters must shed their old shell and grow a new one…meaning that discomfort is the stimulus that causes the lobster to shed their shell and grow a new one. Without discomfort, the lobster wouldn’t be able to continue growing. The moral of the story is that discomfort means that you are growing.

As we approached our classrooms, my colleague bid me good luck for the busy day ahead of us. She promised to send me the lesson on lobsters so I could teach it to my students. And while this is a valuable lesson for high schoolers, I couldn’t help but think about the ways in which I could learn from it too. You see, I had been living in my comfortable shell since the year and a half prior. I’d finished undergraduate school, completed my teaching credential, my job was secure, my bank account was secure, and I was enjoying time in my new house with my fiance. All in all, life was routined, predictable, and comfortable. After years of being consumed by school and minimum wage jobs, I was grateful to be able to enjoy the career and salary I had worked so hard for.

I believe comfort can be a good thing. After we’ve put energy and effort into our lives it’s important to take time to breathe in what we’ve created. Our efforts wouldn’t be worth very much if mental peace and satisfaction weren’t some of the results.

Too much comfort though, can lead to stagnation. Which is exactly what ended up happening to me. I became unsatisfied with how I was progressing in life. I had goals, but… I wasn’t pursuing them. I wanted to earn a master’s degree. I wanted to start writing. Both of these things were inevitable. I always knew I could and would do both, but now they were an inescapable shadow. I couldn’t stop thinking about my goals…yet I wasn’t acting.

What I didn’t realize was that I was outgrowing my shell. I was wiggling against it, knowing that I’d have to leave behind what was once comfortable in order to grow. I was resisting breaking free of my shell and starting school and starting to write because I was resisting the discomfort that was sure to come. Late nights doing homework. Less free time. The possibility of failure.

It was all mildly intimidating and I was dreading the process of getting accustomed to a busy schedule again. In time, I finally did apply to graduate school (hello UNA!) and started writing. Being in my first semester of graduate school and still learning about who I am as a writer, I am oftentimes hyper aware of the fact that I’m just a vulnerable, mushy little lobster. I have a lot to learn. I have a long way to go. But I’m free from my shell, and free to be able to grow. I AM growing.

And sometimes it’s uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world because the feeling of growth, of pursuing who I am meant to be, is liberating.

I hope that if you are resisting difficult things, you will remember to be like a lobster. Accept the discomfort because without it, there will be no growth.

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About the Contributor
Bre Goodwin
Bre Goodwin, Former Lead Graphic Designer

Bre Goodwin is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts & Theatre with a concentration in Acting. As a graphic designer for the Flor-Ala, she is passionate about art and the ways it can heal individuals and unite communities. She is from Leighton, Ala.

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