This artsy actually really enjoyed math in high school. But there were a number of signs along the way that gently shoved me into the creative world and away from a life full of wacky formulas and great mathematical expeditions.
One sign came as a comment from my grade 12 calculus teacher: "it baffles me that I can watch you teach other students how to do the math perfectly, but when you have to write a test it's like you know nothing". At the time I wasn't clear on how to take his razor edged compliment but I did feel it confirmed the cliche of "those who can't do, teach!"
The other waving red flag was when I signed up with great enthusiasm for OAC Physics and the teacher was more shocked that I signed up for the class than the fact that I dropped it two weeks later. The day class started he looked blankly into my smiling eager face and asked, "no seriously, why are you here?" I actually just really enjoyed using a different part of my brain and hanging out with the science types; but yes, my romantic notion of a life exploring structures formed by particles exerting electrical forces would go unrealized. So, I replaced it with another music class!
Turns out I didn't abandon my math skills entirely after high school. Without realizing it, I ended up redirecting my poor mathlete abilities into finding happiness and developing a road-map for my life.
With happiness, the formula was:
IF I HAVE ... THEN I WILL BE HAPPY.
I was filling the '...' with taking copious amounts of courses, and doing projects I felt would support me achieving the second half of the equation, which was always happiness. I had myself convinced that happiness was a feeling I had to earn or discover. Yet, the harder I tried to find happiness (longest game of hide-and-seek ever!) the further away it seemed to be and more frustrated and annoyed I became! Then, like any good mathematician or physicist, I stopped to re-adjust my calculations and reset the formula to be much more simple and elegant:
I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY HERE AND NOW.
I gave up the chase, and decided that if I'm not happy in the space I am currently in, then I'm not finding it anywhere else!
I made happiness a choice instead of a search.
The other formula I developed for myself ended up being a road-map of sorts. It simply stated that:
ABC ='s DEF
I would start with the results I wanted, DEF, and then would figure out what ABC would get me those desired results. And it has worked my entire life, because so much of what I have wanted to achieve has been familiar, so determining the ABC has been quite easy.
But... what if what I want to experience something I have never attempted before?
What if I want to achieve things outside of my usual endevors?
One of the hardest things I am having to realize is that if I want something new and different in my life, I won't get there with old ways of thinking or do-ing. Which means, I don't have a road-map! To say this is unsettling is a gross understatement. This redheaded Scorpio likes her organization and familiar patterns!
So what is required of this lousy mathlete if she is going to wander in uncharted territories?
- be brave enough to step forward without a map or checklist.
...yeah, NO small feat for this checklist addict! Seriously, if I do things that are NOT on my checklist I add them JUST to have the satisfaction of checking it off!
- be open to knowing I will stumble (and that is often the fun part of the journey!)
- remember a sense of humour is a powerful weapon.
- know when to ask for help... and ask often!
- remember that happiness isn't the end result of the journey, it's what's driving the car!
The formula's I choose to follow now are less technical, but for me more powerful:
I CHOOSE HAPPINESS
THE ROAD MAP IS BEING CREATED WITH EACH SMALL STEP I TAKE