Off the Beaten Path

Spirits are high in my house this morning.  My son was accepted to college for the coming fall semester.  Nothing remarkable about that on its face but my son has never done things in unremarkable ways.  Eight weeks ago, he dropped out of his junior year in high school after completing exactly one full year of high school as a freshman.

He started work full time the next day, working for 2 local organic farms as the “tomato man”.  His expertise within the organic farm world is tomatoes – he knows how to make them grow. The farmers love his sense of responsibility and his experience.

Four weeks ago, he took a week long course that certifies him as a “Wilderness First Responder” – they are affectionately called “woofers”, sort of an EMT for the backwoods.

After many scheduling difficulties with the local high school and a great deal of support, he took his pre-GED test, a requirement in the state of NH if you are under 18 and want to leave school and take your GED.

Three weeks ago, he decided he wanted to go to college in Colorado and pursue his dream of working in the wilderness.

Two weeks ago he passed his GED, and applied for college.

Last night, he was accepted.

If this seems like a roller coaster ride, you are entirely right!  If it seems random and capricious, that is where you would be wrong.  This is a young man who has tried very hard to fit into the educational mold and couldn’t.  He told me more than a year ago, that he wanted to get his GED.  I thought he was too young.  I was afraid – that amorphous kind of fear that doesn’t have a face but rather gives me a sense of unease that I can’t explain.  I convinced him to continue in the local public school. The other adults in his life applauded.

We both struggled that year; he tried to make it work and I tried to get him to school every day.    It was a mess.  He was failing classes that he could have aced with his eyes closed and I was constantly worried about whether he had made it to school that day.  We were trying as hard as we could to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Now he is college bound.  He’ll be in the mountains, near some big water and he’ll be learning the skills he needs to become an outdoor leader. He is thrilled. This is what happens when you take control of your life and follow your heart.

I’m learning.  I’m learning to listen to him.  I’m also learning what it is like to stop and listen to my own heart.  I’m learning that being true to yourself sometimes means breaking the rules, it sometimes means standing up to the people you love and it always takes courage.  It’s not easy slogging through the mud and the puckerbrush, but along with the brambles come the raspberries.  Today – we’re feasting as we travel!

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2 responses to “Off the Beaten Path

  1. heart work is the best kind. takes courage and getting off the hampster wheel. loved the read.

    • Thanks Carol – We’re so well trained to the hampster wheel – sometimes we don’t even know we’re on it. Watching someone else leap off is very inspirational.

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