Saturday, May 16, 2009

And then she changed her mind

I am collecting stories of people who were well along a path--career, ideology, life style-- and then woke up one morning and changed it all. I don't mean when you're young (who didn't change majors in college?) I mean a well-established adult who may have even garnered some degree of fame and/or success in her current identity. And then she chucked it.

Why? Because stories like that interest me. But, also, because I'm going back to school on the eve of my 40th birthday. I'm getting a PreK - 3rd grade masters/licensure (I dream of teaching Kindergarten). I already had a masters in writing, and a perfectly good plan to teach composition and ESL and creative writing, while writing the great American novel.

Well, you know, I changed my mind. I take comfort knowing that so did...

Arianna Huffington. Founder and CEO of the Huffington Post, a go-to source for left-of-the-aisle political news and thought. She first stepped into political limelight by campaigning for her then-husband, a Republican California gubernatorial candidate. She wasn't a kid when she was stumping for the GOP, and her position wasn't unexamined--she just later changed her mind.

And a blogger named Melissa, who is also a wildly talented crafter and owner of the Etsy shop Little Pink House. She was well into her 30s, a professor of creative writing on a tenure track at a small, prestigious liberal arts college, when she looked around and saw a lifetime of department meetings and passionless student essays and said, um, no. She moved her family to a small town in Maine, and now she sews, blogs, and raises her daughter. My favorite part of this story is that her sewing projects aren't postmodern, un-constructed gallery pieces that represent a angst-filled intellectual poem in another medium. No, she sews lovely wall-hangings that sweetly, quietly, celebrate family and home. To look at her work is to take a deep breath and feel at peace. There is not a shred of Ph.D. poetic irony in them. She left that kind of thing behind--she changed her mind, and seems to be completely happy with it. Awesome.

Got another example for me? Add to my collection!