I heard a familiar refrain this week. Something along the lines of, “Since I never heard back from “x” prospect, I decided to enroll in a course I’d been thinking of taking. I really got a lot out of it, and am moving forward in this new direction.”
Substitute any opportunity that pops into your life or notice when a door you wanted to have opened doesn’t. What are the alternatives?
As a Baby Boomer high school senior in the largest demographic to enter college, I was wait-listed at my first choice Mount Holyoke College and accepted at my safety school, George Washington University. Mount Holyoke had instituted a February Freshman program allowing wait-listed students the opportunity to enter college in the winter when early-graduating seniors would vacate rooms. I accepted that offer and attended GWU for one semester.
Since I wasn’t permitted to enroll in GW’s freshman English course, (MHC wanted to be sure I took theirs) I had to substitute something from another discipline. I chose a life drawing course. Mount Holyoke’s General Education requirements included studies in the arts, so I knew the credits would transfer.
I hadn’t been “allowed” to take art since 8th grade when it had been part of the curriculum. It wasn’t on the academic track at my high school, so I never took classes there. When I had to substitute a course at GW, I enrolled in a 9-hour life drawing course–three 3-hour sessions per week.
I never looked back. When I arrived at MHC I continued taking art and theatre courses which became my split major resulting in my first teaching job when I answered an ad for a stagecraft teacher in the art department at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT. Thirty years in my own art business began shortly after my two-year stint at Westhill.
Had I gotten into Mount Holyoke along with the rest of my class, would I have fallen in love with art the way I did during that intensive drawing class in DC? What I thought was the worst luck, not immediately getting into the college of my choice, turned into finding my life’s work.
Life is throwing a lot of curves these days. We are constantly at choice as to what to do with opportunities or the seeming lack of opportunities. I’m firmly convinced that following our passions and listening to our inner wisdom is the path to happiness. It may be a bumpy ride, but worth it.