What sets your soul on fire

fireWhen I was at high school, I didn’t get to choose subjects – we simply continued to do the same subjects we had done in previous years.  Lucky really, because with the exception of physical education (which I would have dropped in a heartbeat), and maybe geography, because who cares about million year-old rocks, there was no way I would have been able to choose.

So I am puzzled by the complicated selection process Miss Dee is undergoing.  Her selection will ultimately determine her results, shape her career choices and, more importantly, influence how much she enjoys the next two years.  Which in turn will determine her results, shape her career choices… you get my drift.

The stage is wide open.

It’s easy with subjects she knows she loves like maths, but then does she do 2, 3 or 4 units? (I’m kidding, of course, 2 units was never in contention, much to the relief of her maths teacher who would have been “disappointed” with just 2.) But that’s just it, she loves too many things.

She is what my mother used to call me: “a renaissance child” one who is good and loves seemingly opposing knowledge branches.  It seems being a “generalist specialist” as a friend of mine termed it, is an outdated thing.  These days jobs have become so specialised, you have to speak to several people in an organisation (or more likely go through dozens of automated voice choices) before you can speak to someone who can actually help you.

So when Miss Dee is looking at career choices (yes, I know I am getting ahead of myself and my husband tells me we have plenty of time – admittedly he has been saying the same thing for the last few years.  Time only passes faster the closer you get to the target date), they seem to inevitably exclude at least one of the things she loves.

That’s not a problem; both my husband and Miss Dee tell me.  You just have one as a hobby.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  In her case, that would be her music and composing. Besides, as Miss Dee says: “it’s not easy to make a living with music.”

So why am I still uncomfortable with that?  There are a couple of reasons.  One is based on personal experience.  The second is based on observation.

My experience tells me that when you choose a career path, you get absorbed in it and there is precious little room for anything else.  But plenty of people have a job and do their other “love” on the side, right?  That works when the actual job is not something they are particularly interested in. It’s a means to an end. The end often being a creative pursuit.  That is not the case when you happen to love your career.

My observations tell me that just about every spare minute Miss Dee has is spent on music.  I got kicked out of the music room for a whole week because she decided to collaborate with a friend (via skype) to compose songs.

Sure, her following a maths-related career will ensure she has more opportunities for employment, which is a more comfortable path.  It’s also likely to be a more corporate role; one that might stifle her and expose her to a hierarchical, sometimes ruthless system.

In other words, I‘d rather she not be exposed to some of the bad things I have lived through.

Yet …

I am the result of my good experiences and my bad experiences, my failures and my triumphs. I’d love to spare Miss Dee those failures and bad experiences, but I can’t. Even if I could, I’d be stunting her emotional growth.  She is already an amazing human being; imagine if she is allowed to flourish to the fullest of her potential?  Only she can do that and only as she learns and discerns her options from consequences. I am looking forward to her journey, not as a spectator, nor as an actor, but rather as support crew. I’ll be there to hug her when she is down and embarrass her with my displays of pride when she is at the top.

Exit stage left.

It’s her turn.

Where your talents and the world’s needs cross, there lies your vocation.  Aristotle

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