…except by “was,” I mean “am.” Starting next week, I will become something I once was, for a brief time, and never thought I would be again.
A college student.
Sometimes our journey through life is a placid river voyage, with serene waters to guide us, and gentle changes in direction that are visible long before we approach.
Other times it is a blind rush through tangled undergrowth, thorns tearing at our flesh, while scavengers stalk us from the shadows, lured by the scent of blood dripping from wounded dreams.
It is ever a procession of opportunities and choices. We might not always act upon them or make the wisest decision, but what can we do but the best we can, and allow ourselves to learn from our experiences?
After graduating high school, I stumbled through some classes at my local community college, shifting directions like an exhausted octopus flailing against conflicting currents:
“I’m going to be an English major. No! A marine biologist. No! A Computer Science major. No! Oh, I don’t know…maybe I’ll just be a musician…”
…so I wound up in the video game industry instead.
For many years I had the same job and a comfortable niche, with work I loved and people I loved to work with. The possibility of doing something else never occurred to me until I rediscovered fiction writing, something that seemed more a wild dream than a practical career shift.
When an involuntary sabbatical caused me to consider the future, I realized that as much as I loved working in the game industry, my skills and experience had little application outside of it. Would it not be better to give myself more options, should the time come when I might need them?
So I decided to go back to school.
In the tradition of those full-circle ironies that Life (the universal experience, not the breakfast cereal) hands us on occasion, I’m attending classes in the same community college system where I was
an English major (No!) a Biology major (No!) a Computer Science major a student years ago.
Whether out of choice or necessity, eventually we all must chart bold new directions, if not reinvent ourselves, to face new challenges and even greater opportunities for the future. Often the way ahead lies through uncertainty and self-doubt, though sometimes it takes us through places both haunting and familiar.
But always we have our experiences to guide us.
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Have you changed the direction of your life by going back to school, switching careers, and/or creating new life? How have your experiences guided you in these new endeavors?