In high school, yes we are going that far back, I had my eyes set on one career, one life path, one predetermined course. I had no interest in attending a university, half hazardly taking a few general courses, until enlightenment struck me. I was going to be a doctor, and that was final. A general family doctor who would practice in northern Michigan after attending med school. My future was carefully articulated and planned.
To say I had worked my ass off to compile the most compelling college application package would be an understatement. The grades, a must, were there. I enrolled in every AP course our school offered. I zeroed in on community service within the medical industry, volunteered at the hospital, even joined our school's science team. Which by the way placed 2nd at states. I was a budding young doctor in the making with a creative edge just strong enough to help push me over the edge of the other applicants.
Of course, all of this made sense, before I actually started the course work. The long lectures, boring materials, mindless reads. Could this be? Could I have been wrong? How could this career, so destined to be my future, and me not get along?
"I'm not sure I want to be a doctor," I remember saying to my parents. "I don't know, it's just these classes are doing nothing for me...no, no, it's not my grades...it's just they are boring."
Meanwhile, I was also hanging around the school of music. I auditioned and made the university symphony. I began to familiarize myself with the faculty, the courses, the students, the practice rooms. I even changed my style swapping jeans and hoodies for long skirts and vintage teas. I was a liberal at heart hanging around coffee shops and making cameos at local open mics.
"You know, I'm thinking of switching my major to music...violin performance actually."
It can't be! This overzealous, overachieving, only-an-A-will-do type gal pursuing a bachelor of arts. GASP. Is of course what my parents didn't say. Maybe what they thought, but certainly not what they said.
No, my (extremely conservative and successful) family stood by my decision. They supported me - with front row tickets in hand. Driving from city to city across Michigan, watching and applauding as I learned to utilize my talents and open new doors.
"What will you do with a music degree?," was often asked. A question I couldn't answer, and didn't need to. I was enjoying life. The performances, concerts, auditions...all felt right. My university years were some of the most meaningful in my life. And somewhere in between Beethoven lectures and orchestra rehearsals I found self worth and confidence.
As these days crept to an end I can remember feeling that unavoidable "what's next" pressure. As much as I wanted to, I knew I could't live in this music school bubble forever. So, I started to prepare for auditions. One of which stood out amongst the others. Barrage, a musical theather show with an open call in Boston.
I went to Boston. I didn't make the cut. Didn't even make it to call backs. Disappointing sure, but little did I know, larger things were in motion. A big piece of my life's puzzle was falling into place. One which couldn't be planned or prepped. For the person I auditioned for happened to be the show's art director. That art director's name was Brian. The B to my A.
A coincidence, maybe. A direct result from changing my future career path, yes. Fate...definitely.
I'm turning 30 today, and I can honestly say that my 20's have taught me many lessons. Some more significant then others. But, nothing holds more true to my heart then probably the most meaningful lesson learned of all - if lost on your way trust your instincts and change directions.
When plan A didn't work...I moved on to plan B. And it's been a wonderful, both-hands-up ride ever since.
until next time - ABCD