“I think you should consider medical school.”
I was 26 at the time and only two months from finishing my second graduate degree. But, still, my advisor’s words were tempting. And, let’s be honest, coast has never been a word in my vocabulary.
In that moment, I saw two paths my life could take. In the first, I could work hard and sacrifice for a dream job in obstetrics and gynecology. Or I could make my way back into the classroom – likely to teach language arts (the field where my initial training occurred).
For many days, life begged the question: Science or the arts?
When I was a senior in high school, our tiny school system allowed us to view a folder that contained schoolwork we had created over our entire K-12 academic career. I immediately searched mine with purpose. In less than a minute, I had recovered my treasure: a picture of a blonde girl’s face with obnoxious nostrils. The caption read “scientist”. I remember drawing this portrait in Kindergarten, but all of childhood’s rich memories had prevented me from recalling what I had stated I wanted to be at age 5.
Ironically – just a few months before my elementary masterpiece was revealed – I had all but sealed my professional fate. I would major in English and follow a career in secondary education. Honorable, though not overly ambitious.
I wanted to make good grades in college, and literature had an irresistible pulse. So I studied, socialized, and secured summa cum laude.
But I never forgot that picture.
Life is funny. As it turns out, I became a writing teacher who married a scientist. I admire the work he does, but my path has allowed for flexible mothering – a much larger dream. And words, of course, continue to be a passion.
Four and a half years ago, I chose not to take the path of increased resistance. Truthfully, I was ready to take my foot off the pedal. And, for the very first time in my life, I ceased academic acceleration. But what I couldn’t see then was that the car was still moving – to sights I could never envision.
My husband and I still laugh at the numerous and unexpected detours. And those loud and imaginative children in the backseat? They have been us all along.
One Year Ago: Antidote for a Mother’s Pride