My journey toward creating a family and growing a career over the past decade has not exactly been what I had planned. During the first ten years of my career I became a professional engineer, completed a graduate degree, and was doing work I was passionate about - protecting the lakes I so loved as a child. We were also starting a family and embarking on a dream we had to adopt internationally. There appeared to be a clear-ish trajectory.
However, the following decade would up-end much of that story with a suite of unforeseen challenges. Some of these forks in the road led to unconventional choices that included adopting, choosing acceptance & support over therapy for our neurodiverse family, deciding to be a one-child family, embracing unschooling instead of school, realizing that unschooling can also mean choosing formal education, and taking a leap into the unknown by leaving my career and the safety of my expertise behind. This new path is furnished with a deep fascination with the learning process, being retrained as a spiritual director and a desire to help others.
What I have found through the many bumps (giant potholes?) in the road and the experiences of the last ten years is that there is not only one way to be happy, to feel successful, to contribute and especially that there is not one way to learn -despite what the experts and your friends tell you. In fact, our family's "way" of educating and supporting our incredible kid changes each year to meet the needs of our whole family.
Our path and choices are absolutely not perfect, and neither am I - believe me! But each day we grant ourselves the permission to create out our own path and that feels freeing, and at times like a huge responsibility, but one that I believe is worth it.