Thursday, February 25, 2016

180 Degrees

PJ and Victory Crew (PJ is right behind Santa)
A few months ago, PJ told us that the restaurant where he cooks nights and weekends, Victory Brewing Company, is opening a food truck this spring. They have asked him to run the food truck. He is very excited about this opportunity. At first, all I could think of was his college training in Secondary Ed (history). He has been substitute teaching ever since he graduated from Millersville University, but over the past two years he has gradually shifted focus towards the restaurant business. PJ loves it, so, gradually, I am getting used to the possibility that his future may involve more cooking and fewer history classes. My dream for him has taken a 180 degree turn.

Evan fell in love with physics in high school, and the love affair continued through his years at the Naval Academy. His analytical mind enjoyed the discipline, the process of discovery. His years in the Navy as an officer on a nuclear sub seemed to cement his desire to work in physics after he left the service—teaching, research, etc. Yet, at some point last year, Evan changed course completely. He discovered that he was fascinated by economics, specifically public policy. Having never taken an economics course in his life, he was nevertheless accepted to several graduate programs in the US, and the University of Barcelona abroad. As I write this, he is midway through a rigorous one year Master’s program in Spain, and is looking ahead to a very different future than I had pictured for him…again, a 180 degree turn.

In their own ways, my other kids have taken turns away from what I would have predicted. Rose is a project manager for a company that creates interactive videos, not a full-time singer/songwriter. Sheridan is a music teacher and church music director, still composing, but not exclusively, as was his trajectory coming out of the Curtis Institute. Julie is declaring her college major next week, vacillating between accounting and business—and this is a girl who HATED math in elementary and high school.

We live in a world where people are supposed to make one choice (of career or opinion) and stick with it, no matter what. There is, to many, nothing worse than someone who changes his or her mind. Yet that is the path of growth as people—to learn more and more about ourselves, which sometimes calls for a change of course. I hope and pray we will stop demonizing one another for daring to evolve in our thinking. There is too much rigidity in our world today, and too many people who trap themselves in a life they have ceased to want.

So…Bon appetit, PJ! Felicidades, Evan! Good luck, Sher, Rose and Julie!  I would love you no matter what you did for a living, but I am especially proud of the thoughtful choices you are making. Even the 180 degree turns are exciting and wonderful, and part of what makes you each unique.

Hooray for open minds!

Rose's "Black on Gray"

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