I once worked in a secondary school as a vocational counsellor for kids considered disadvantaged. These kids had been in jail, on drugs, on the streets or simply lost to the system. And here they were, in school – some of the time – a few years behind their contemporaries, but finally getting to the point of being able to make a considered decision about their own futures. Many went on to university or college, some didn’t.
As I look at my daughter with her paintbrush I remember some of those kids. No-hopers, would have been the general consensus a few years earlier, but not anymore. At age eighteen or nineteen they were ready to move forward. And so what if it was a year or too late? As I look back at my own career path I can clearly see the twists and turns. I’ve changed countries twice, gone back to study twice, been self-employed, and not one move do I regret. How boring, I think now, if I had stayed on the path.
Now my daughter puts down her brush, and with a big smile holds up her picture for me to see. “This one’s a present for you, Mummy, because I know you like zig-zags.” And yes, I do.