I've never been a passenger in my own life. The day I graduated from high school, the Superintendent of the schools in my town was on the stage to shake the hand of every graduate. I breezed on past him, not on purpose, but walking headlong into my future with a plan in mind. I'd been that way my whole life.
At the age of 17, I moved to Los Angeles to go to UCLA. Four years later, at the age of 21, I moved more than halfway across the country, to Nashville, Tennessee, where I didn't know a single soul, to attend graduate school. Five years after that, I took a teaching job in rural Nebraska, another place where I didn't know anyone. I was 26 years old. At the age of 34, I moved again, this time to New Jersey and with my partner and son. But yet again, it was a jump into the unknown. All of these changes and many more were orchestrated by me. I've always been the driving force of my life. And I have always been proud of that fact.
It's only been in the past 6 months, since the sudden departure of my partner, that I've doubted myself. A huge part of it is a consequence of feeling like I was not in control of my destiny when she left. And I realize that now the destiny that I manage is not just my own, but also the future of my child's life. And the last few months have convinced me that I am strong enough to handle the future for us both. In a way, I've learned again just how important it is to remember that I don't have to be a passenger in my own life.