Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lesson from my 20-something years

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, no, it's not my'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."

And, silence.

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


Barbra Eickholt said...

I cannot see any point where you failed. Every corner you turned led you to choices to become who you are...a beautiful, articulate young woman. The immense talent remains and will likely take you on many more adventures.

Liz said...

Such a sweet story! It's amazing how our choices in live can leads us to things that we had no idea they would. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had made just a couple changes along the way. I love my life and wouldn't change a thing but it's interesting to wonder! Happy birthday, hope it was great!!

sonya said...

love this post!

it's amazing how our lives our lead in surprising and not-so-surprising directions. But in the end it seems to all make sense. :)

Glad you found your way.

Kimberly said...

Love. LOVE. LOVE this!
It's amazing that in 10 years how much a person can change. I am so happy that you went with your heart instead and ran with it. Life should be about things that make you happy and fullfilled. Good for you!

Circus Daily said...

Thanks guys for the hurrahs. Entering my 30's with head held high.

@ I don't know if it's just me, but I can't seem to find the comments section on your blog today. Probably just me being blind, but wanted to let you know just in case something was up.

Philippe said...

Happy Birthday A!!!
I wish you many more years of happiness!

Kelley said...

Such a good read. You're awesome!! Oh and Happy Birthday!! It just gets better after 30 I promise. XOXO.

Andrea said...

So true. Thought I was going to be a vet and ended up an english teacher. Go figure! And now a mom. Great story!

Paige Smith said...

So touching and poetic! Such a great story of how some things are just meant to be. And that everything happens for a reason — as much as those things that don't.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

Love this true story :) May the next 10 years be just as fantastically surprising...
Happy Birthday!

Circus Daily said...

So to "comment deleted" not sure why that happened...I don't remember deleting anything...unless your spam and it was automatically deleted. In that to you, and thank you blogger.

Erika said... were ALWAYS talented and amazing in high school! I love this story...your step mom told me this a couple years ago, but it's even better coming from you:) Hope you have the most amazing birthday!!

PS...remember your one birthday in high school and we had a sleep over at your mom's and watch that crazy movie which some crazy line about "Barney" ...huh, true green;)

Circus Daily said...

God Erika that's right...I do remember that, sort of,...but have no clue what that movie was! Remember it gave us lots of laughs though.

Thanks for the nice comments everyone.

Amber@Nater Tot said...

That is a great story! I love it. And Happy Birthday :) Whenever I feel low about choosing the practical (law school) over the passion (anthropology), I remember that if I didn't go down the path I did, I would have never have met the most fantastic man in the world. And I wouldn't have my Nater Tot. I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Alissa said...

So...are you the Sliding Doors version of me? 30, spells it with an "i", and thinking becoming a doctor but not so sure about med school. Sounds very familiar (except I'm 31, but who's counting).

After a few touch and go years, I ended up going to med school and becoming a Pediatrician. I am happy with my life, but sometimes wonder what could have been...

{And a little jealous that you get to be the blonde Gwyneth, while I'm the brunette...always wanted golden locks}

Love your blog. And happy birthday.

Hannah said...

This was a beautifully written post! I love how you said "if lost on your way trust your instincts and change directions." So well said. Often times so many people stick to the path the doesn't work because they can't accept the fact that they did all that hard work for "nothing" instead of taking on the new goal of finding what really fits! I am happy that plan B turned out to be such a wonderful ride and continues to be!

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