Welcome! This is the first post in our series “Homegrown in the Heart,” which aims to connect people from the heart of Washington who have been impacted by being born and raised here in the Yakima area. I’m Bill Pickett with LGP Law, and joining me today is my daughter, Maddie. She’s home from university and wanting to share some of her journey as 2023 draws to a close.

We’ll discuss:

  • Maddie’s Journey | Going from Yakima to Arizona
    • Deciding to Go Out of State for College
    • Handling Pressure When Choosing a College
    • Navigating Obstacles | 3 Challenges You Might Face Living Away from Home
    • Maddie’s Plans for the Future
    • Being the Child of a Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Reflecting on 2023 as a Family
    • Maddie’s Word: Consistency
    • Our Biggest Accomplishments in 2023
    • Our Biggest Failures in 2023
    • What We’re Looking Forward to in 2024

Maddie’s Journey | Going from Yakima to Tucson, Arizona

Maddie has grown up her whole life in Yakima, Washington; she’s completely homegrown in the heart. She graduated from West Valley High School (go Rams!), and this is her second year of university in Tucson, Arizona.

Deciding to Go Out of State for College

Maddie didn’t know much about Tucson, Arizona at first. We had gone on a family vacation there for the 4th of July, and it was an incredibly warm summer. Since that first trip, our family visited a few more times, and Maddie really began to fall in love with the area.

There are two things I love about Tucson that are why I ultimately chose to go there: 1) The weather and scenery. I wanted to be on a campus with the vibe that was right for me; somewhere that when school sucks, everything else – my environment, where I live – is good. I love the view of Mt. Lemmon! 2) Tucson reminds me of Yakima. I’ve heard it from other people too: there’s something special about Yakima that Tucson also has.

Deciding to go to college out of state is a very big decision to make when you’re 18. Maddie’s older brother went to college on the west side of Washington, so navigating how to choose between two schools that were 1,000+ miles away was new to all of us. Something that helped Maddie choose was making a list of pros and cons that factored in:

  • Price
  • Location
  • Programs
  • Opportunities

Handling Pressure When Choosing a College

Maddie recalled that when we toured the schools on her list, she knew immediately that the University of Arizona was where she wanted to be; it just felt right. The other close contender was in Hawaii (which I was excited about because I had some pre-booked tickets).

You know yourself best, no matter what, even if you think you don’t and have doubts. You know what you want deep down, even if it’s just a small feeling. Don’t be scared to make a big decision; don’t be afraid to make that jump.

When it came to handling pressure, whether from parents or peers, Maddie believed it came down to maintaining independence and responsibility. After all, it was going to be her school work, her living situation, her environment. Not anyone else’s.

Navigating Obstacles | 3 Challenges You Might Face Living Away from Home

Academically, Maddie felt that her high school prepared her for college. Her biggest struggle was moving out of state and the homesickness that came with it. Maddie was determined go to Arizona, no matter what, and she was determined to find ways to persevere through the change.

I would think to myself, “This is really hard right now, but I need to push through this. It’s going to make me a better version of myself, and I’ll grow more – maybe exponentially – than if I was still in state.” I still have times when I get homesick, but I know I’m going to grow so much more from this experience.

Maddie reflected over her time in Arizona and said that she’s faced 3 main challenges:

1. Setting Boundaries

Maddie identified setting boundaries as a big challenge. Boundaries aren’t a selfish thing to have, but they are usually uncomfortable and often part of an ongoing process. Maddie expressed that pushing through the challenges of setting healthy boundaries has helped improve her life in a new place.

2. Maintaining Relationships

It felt easier to maintain existing friendships in Yakima during Maddie’s first year of college because she and her friends were still adjusting to their new phases of life; everyone was talking to each other a lot. This year, Maddie noted it was more difficult to maintain these relationships because people had settled into their environments more.

3. Value Collisions

Another challenge Maddie encountered was different values colliding. This could be with friends, professors, or even strangers. Maddie believes it is very important to stay strong in your own values and to know who you are. She felt living in Yakima had taught her how to do that, as our region has its own unique values.

Maddie’s Plans for the Future

From a very young age, Maddie has wanted to be an FBI Special Agent. She admits that her plan could always change, but she’s got a strong feeling this the path she’s going to take. Being an FBI Special Agent isn’t like the TV shows at all, but the process of understanding and solving crimes has always appealed and felt natural to Maddie.

I asked Maddie a hypothetical question: FBI Agents are often stationed around the U.S., how would she operate or manage being stationed somewhere far away, like New York?

I think her answer speaks to the depth of character coming out of Yakima:

Yakima has taught me that anywhere you find yourself, you can find a community that will be around you and will support you, even in a huge city like New York. You find your pack. I found that out moving schools in high school and moving cities in college. It’s a little stressful at first, but you find your people and you’re okay.

Being the Child of a Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s always a humbling gamble to ask your child about their challenges growing up, especially as they relate to your own profession; Maddie has been the child of a personal injury lawyer her entire life.

Thankfully, Maddie laughed when I asked her about it. She recalled the time her class won a trip to a trampoline park, but because I wasn’t comfortable with the release form, I didn’t “sign her life away.” Maddie said she was crushed, but we came up with alternative fun day and went to the arcade.

Maddie also said that being the child of a personal injury lawyer has put a little “dad voice” in her head; whenever she sees something potentially hazardous, like a dog off its leash at a park, she’s more situationally aware of the possibilities. It’s a quality she said her friends have also appreciated.

Reflecting on 2023 as a Family

The Pickett family is very centered on growth; it’s not just valuable to reflect on your year but to also improve the next one. Every New Year’s Eve, our family has a tradition: each of us will pick a word, and that’s the word we hope to learn and grow in throughout the coming year.

Maddie’s Word: Consistency

Maddie very adamantly waits to think about the word she’s going to pick until New Year’s Eve. She feels that waiting until the moment is when her heart is most earnest; she wants to be open to receiving this word.

For 2023, she picked the word consistency.

Consistency is hard, but having a consistent lifestyle is valuable. If you can become more consistent in just the little things in your every day, you’re going to grow. Even if it’s just making your bed every morning, you’re going to become a better person.

I agree with Maddie’s view; it’s much easier to be random and sporadic in life. Consistency is a good trait to build, and I’m eager to see what word Maddie picks for 2024.

Our Biggest Accomplishments in 2023

In 2023, Maddie achieved several personal and professional milestones. She completed her first year of university which led to significant personal growth, maturity, and a better understanding of her priorities. Over the summer, Maddie also worked at the Yakima Tennis Club, where she focused on developing her leadership skills. Looking back, Maddie feels that she has grown more in this year than in previous ones.

For myself in 2023, I achieved a significant career milestone. After over two decades of working alone, I merged with some partners to help create LGP Law Firm. The process of merging our distinct practices into one was challenging but ultimately focused on serving the Yakima community and improving people’s lives. Change has always been a constant and welcome factor in my life.

Our Biggest Failures in 2023

Nobody wants to talk about their failures, but no reflection on our year would be complete without also looking at where we missed the mark or fell short.

Aside from struggling with an economics class, Maddie learned a lot about consistency and how to recover from being inconsistent.

I failed at being consistent at times; it’s hard. What I’ve learned is that I tend to want to be 100% all the time, and that if I’m not, then it’s all derailed and I’ve failed. But what I’ve learned is that it’s okay if there’s a little fail, if something wasn’t 100% perfect. It’s okay if it’s 50%, you just get back on track. That was a big thing I didn’t realize until this year.

The failures I’ve dealt with personally this year have been around navigating relationships. There are a handful of incidents I can recall from where I didn’t communicate well, or in a way that got the ball rolling in a positive direction for a client or colleague.

There were three things I learned from reflecting back on my relational shortcomings:

  1. Personal or professional, relationships are hard and complex.
  2. It takes a lot of honest work in relationships to make them fruitful.
  3. You don’t have to stay stuck; you can always go back and try to set the record straight when you mess up.

And I hope to take those lessons with me into my relationships in 2024.

What We’re Looking Forward to in 2024

Maddie and I both feel we have a lot to look forward to in 2024.

Maddie is looking forward to a new semester and some more interesting classes. She’s also eager for summer and figuring out whether she’s going to stay in Arizona or come back home. While she’s more of a creature of habit, Maddie’s goal is to continue experiencing personal growth as she completes her second year of college and begins her third.

For myself, I’m looking forward to becoming a healthier and kinder person. This is something that can be very difficult in my profession as a personal injury lawyer. In our training, lawyers are regularly told, “Do not be kind. You’re just an advocate.” But as I’m staring down the barrel of 60 years of age, I don’t want to become stuck in my ways.

At the heart of everything are my relationships – with God, family, friends, and my professional relationships. My goal for this year is to become better at managing these relationships, and I think achieving this would make for a successful 2024.

Thank you for joining us! I’ve loved spending this time to get to know the mind and heart of my daughter a little more. I hope you found her experiences insightful as you grow and connect with others in the Yakima community. If you have any questions, legal or otherwise, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to meet new people!

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