When my now-seventeen-year-old was a little guy, we called him "Scramble." This seemingly odd moniker came about primarily because it rhymed with his actual name (Campbell). The nickname was, in hindsight, particularly appropriate. Knowledge of the embryo that was to become Campbell arose when I was 21 years old, newly married and a first year medical student. At the time, his father lived 6 hours away.
Needless to say, Campbell's eventual presence served to rearrange many preconceived notions we may have had about our lives.
The more we grew to know our active tot, the more rearranging we realized we were in for. And the more scrambling we understood we were to be doing as we chased this energetic young man--everywhere.
Not to mention the fact that the lad had a unique way of approaching the world. He was extremely physical, intelligent and sensitive from his earliest days. He seemed affected by the slightest change in his environment.
He spent many years learning to negotiate the world--scrambling, as it were, to match his special gifts with the expectations of society.
Now a high school senior, Campbell continues this negotiation. He is a force to be reckoned with, in all the best ways.
Fortunate I was to have encountered my "Scramble" at such a tender age. My baby taught me patience and flexibility in great measure. He was exactly what I needed in my life.
He, and the lessons he taught me, continue to be exactly what I need in my life.
As one might imagine, I have always been somewhat goal-driven. I have successfully completed myriad years of education, several degrees and professional training programs.
All of these have proven useful and relevant. But they did not set me on a clear path. Instead, they made it possible to pursue Robert Frost's "Road Less Taken."
And taking this road has meant giving up on some of my previous goals. It has meant being flexible.
It has meant scrambling a bit, at times.
No time has this been more true than the past year. If someone might have told me a year ago that I would be where I am now, personally and professionally, I'm not sure I would have believed them.
That less-taken road has become more of a cowpath, or perhaps even a mere bend of grasses. Where it leads is truly unclear.
But I've seen what good can come of flexibility; of embracing a scramble.
So I'm willing to let go of goals, for now, and see what happens.
After all, I've been doing it for seventeen years.
And mightily rewarded I have been.
senior Scramble, August 2010