If you remember from my post "My Boy is Going to College" I wrote about my son Sean and how I was dealing with my first child leaving for school. I am writing a follow up to that article and beginning this blog post with the ending from the original. (original post here for context):
...I will leave you with this advice Sean, which by the way is the same three things I have been telling you since you were a baby. Almost every morning when I dropped you off to grade school you heard this from my mouth: (based on Ms Frizzle's famous one line shout out)
Take Chances. Sometimes the smallest steps in the right direction become the biggest steps for your life. Trust your feelings and take the leap.
Make Mistakes. No one is perfect, don't pretend to be. We learn from our mistakes, experience is our greatest teacher.
Get messy. Life is not neat and orderly. Know this, and live within the understanding that you were put on this earth to create. Create kindness, create love and create connection. First within, and then to others. It will not be a straight neat line, but a messy static journey. Enjoy the ride!
The same three things I have been saying to him every day for most of his life had taken hold. For what we say to our children becomes their inner voice. (There are a couple things I said along the way that I hope did not take hold lol)
Sean took a chance and went many hours away to a new school, a new state and a new way of living. This was completely his choice and I supported him wholeheartedly with his decision. He made some beautiful mistakes. Some I know, many I am sure I have yet to be told. One particular mistake he shared rather quickly was his decision to pursue engineering as a major. His grades were fine, but his heart was not in it. Apparently, it was not what he expected or wanted. And that is great. You see, mistakes are the portal to discovery. He understood that mistake is not a bad word, but that success is built on a series of mistakes. He knew life is not a straight line and is rather a messy static journey.
What did he do? He again went to step 1: Take chances.
He said he needed to take a leap of faith and do what he has always loved, not what his inner critic expected (of course he does not speak like this, but I take poetic license in my blogs). He continued at the college to finish out the semester, but in the meantime, did some deep soul-searching and is coming back to school in state and changing his major..
I am so proud of this kid. Not because he is changing majors and coming back to New Jersey. I am happy because he is listening to his internal guidance system. (I am still learning this!) He did not listen to the negative voices that I am sure he had swirling around in his head "You are a quitter. You couldn't stick it out. What will everyone think? People will think I failed....."
He did not hear those lies and that noise, but instead heard the music of truth. He could have stayed at the college and changed his major, but he wanted to take a chance and get a little messy in something new. It felt right to move on.
I too had to tell my ego to be quiet and take a seat in the back. It was a learning experience for the family .
Is everything perfect? Is he perfect? Not even close, but he is following his heart, and that in and of itself is perfect. Sometimes the greatest things are found in our mistakes, and that is exactly what happened for him. He is going to a school that he did not even consider first round, but now, with experience behind him, he sees the value and the opportunity in something that was right in front of him all along.
Keep going kiddo.
I cannot wait to see his new dorm room in January. This time it will be a bit easier to leave. Not because of distance, but more because of a new found worldly confidence that has been built within him this past semester. It was a necessary step to take, going to school and majoring in engineering. It brought him to his next step. And life is a series of steps where you will take chances, make mistakes and get messy.
Where do you need to take a chance? To allow yourself to make mistakes? And to invite in the mess which will eventually make perfect sense? Please give yourself permission to be less than perfect and allow it all to unfold. There are bigger things in store for you if you just take a chance. The biggest enemy is fear of the unknown and staying stagnant. Combat that fear by diving directly into it and knowing it is okay. It is all okay.