At five, I determined I would get a full scholarship to college and be the first in my immediate family to graduate. I did. It’s one of the few things I did do in life precisely as planned.
At five, I also vacillated between joining all four branches of the military, becoming a scientist specializing in exploding concoctions or a rock climber when I grew up. I did none of them.
As a freshman in high school, I decided to become a science teacher – I loved biology! But, then my biology teacher died on stage in front of everyone on my mom’s birthday, and the loss was too great. I became an English teacher instead.
At various other times in my life I imagined myself as a mother of a tableful of children living on a farm; a science researcher who discovered a way to regenerate myelin sheaths on neurons; a social worker; opening my own home or after school center for troubled kids; or, singing opera professionally all over the world.
Life is seldom comprised of a neatly hi-lighted path on a simple map of highways; usually, it is a tangled mass of back roads, highways, service roads, byways, streets, avenues, and very often dirt roads which are not even on the map.
We might think we want to go from point A to point B as quickly as possible, but sometimes the detours make us appreciate the destination much more than we would have had we taken the easy road. Other times we rail against the roadblocks, the detours, the alternate routes we end up having to take, only to find out that the diversion was more valuable than our originally planned destination.
So, on this lovely spring day, this is my ode to the road less traveled. Perhaps my life right now is not quite what I would have planned, but the jewels I’ve gathered along the way have been priceless.