“I really need to figure out what I’m going to do with my life,” he says from the backseat.
I glance in the rearview mirror and smile. “What do you mean, kiddo?”
“I mean I have to decide what I want to be. What I’m good at, you know?”
I have to laugh to myself a bit at that one because, honestly, this child is good at a lot, so it’s not like his options are incredibly limited. But before I can even comment on that, he continues,
“And not just that, but also what I like, right?”
I nod as he goes on,
“Like how your high school chemistry teacher told you you’d make a great chemical engineer, but he knew you’d hate it. And then you nailed math and logic on the tests, but you majored in Literature. That took guts, Mom. But, anyway, I just need to figure out what I’m going to do.”
I take in his pensive expression, the genuine focus in his thoughtful blue eyes, and, finally, I can’t help it. I chuckle.
“Buddy, you’ve got LOTS of time to figure that out.”
“Not really,” comes his matter-0f-fact reply. “I mean, I have nine years. But I’ve already lived nine years! And I really haven’t thought about it at all so far. And you always say how time goes faster and faster as you get older and, obviously, it doesn’t, it’s just all relative and each day is a smaller percentage of your life, but my POINT is– if these nine years are already gone, the next will be gone before I blink.”
I still think he’s perhaps overthinking this and fretting about something that really shouldn’t be a concern. But, then, I’ve gone to college with all the kids who have no clue what they want to be. And I’ve watched those who were utterly certain of their occupation do a 180 in the middle of earning their degrees. I’ve seen a side he hasn’t yet.
And, so, rather than dismiss his concerns, or shrug off what seems pretty silly to me, I just smile.
“You really do have plenty of time, sweetheart. But it’s good that you’re thinking. Have fun thinking. Enjoy pondering all the options there are before you- it’s an amazing time in your life right now. You have so many possibilities.”
He grins back, all freckles and a crooked incisor. Looks out the window. Stretches a long leg which pokes me in the back as I drive. And I hear him murmur,
“Yep. But remember… more than five percent of this school year is already gone. Before I even blinked.”