Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The long ride to preschool

I'm not sure how my mind got there.

I was just driving from work to Fairview last week, undoubtedly thinking great thoughts -- so great, in fact, that I can't recall a single one of them. Most likely it had to do with work and some things that I expect to come to pass over the next 18 - 24 months. I'm not looking forward to these changes. In fact, they might be deal-breakers for me.

And this is where the memory of my great thoughts becomes quite clear. I remember coming to that conclusion -- that if what I expect to happen actually comes to pass it could be a deal-breaker for me -- and thinking "Boy, do you have a lot of nerve." How many people lost their jobs last year, and along with them their savings, their possessions, even their homes? How many people would fight tooth & nail for a good, secure job today? How many people are scratching to make ends meet, thankful for the paychecks they bring home to their families? And here I am, suggesting that a change in my work environment just might cause me to kick my career to the curb? Boy, I do have a lot of nerve.

I know all of that. And while I often grouse about my job I am thankful that I have a certain set of skills and talent that someone is willing to pay for. The income that my job provides is vital. I'm not going to chuck it all because I don't like the new logo or am irritated by the new company line.

But here's the rest of the story: Economic crisis aside, it has never been in my makeup to imagine that there could be something else beyond what is laid out before me. I work in a setting where, with my particular background, there are not a lot of different career paths to choose from. Early on most of us decide on educational versus medical tracks; once you've established yourself & developed certain areas of expertise, that's pretty much your professional lot. At least this is how I have experienced it and how I have observed it in the lives of my colleagues.

It never occurred to me that maybe I had options.

It never occurred to me that other people had already figured this out.

By now, I was out of the car and walking the path up to the church. The significance of my epiphany wasn't lost on me. It's pretty liberating to realize that it really isn't crazy to think about chucking it all. Lots of people have done it and been incredibly successful in the process. There must be a way, a method of getting from A to B to C that people follow. It's different for eveyone, I'm sure. But there have to be common threads.

But it wasn't until I got to the door that the bigger lesson (yes, bigger than the freedom to change your life's work) hit me: I have to make sure that my daughter doesn't get caught in my trap. I have to make sure that she isn't snagged by the fear of change and failure that has left me blind to the fact that I can reshape things. I have to figure out what it takes to be able to do this, and I have to be sure that Sara knows that her path is not a long road without turning, but a winding, hilly journey -- and the joy of life is in the bends and turns of that journey, not the comfort of a smooth, straight, uneventful path.

I'd say it's about time for me to buckle up and enjoy this ride. Wouldn't you?

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