After a drawn out and arduous struggle against/with the idea of going to Law School, Ryan and I decided that it wasn't in the cards for us after all, and that decision couldn't have come at a better time.
Okay, that's a lie. This decision could have ideally come about a year ago and saved us some time and hassle. But, I guess we'll chalk up an extra 365 days of experience and maturity -call it the cost of indecision and growing up.
What are we going to do with our lives instead?? Why, go to Air Traffic Control school, of course.
I know, I know. Where is this coming from? What about the plan?? Who are you people?!?
Well, let's see if I can walk you through the train of thought that blindsided us, lifted us off the tracks with its cow-scooper, and just as quickly dropped us off at the unexpected decision of an ATC career for Ryan.
It started (though we didn't know it) back in May, shortly after Ryan's graduation. As we had planned, he signed up for an LSAT prep course (I'm still trying not to think about how much we spent to prepare him for a test that he would end up never taking-- again, the cost of growing up). The test was scheduled for the beginning of June, and try as he might, Ryan could not get motivated to begin studying. He went to a few prep courses, but as the date approached, he realized that he needed more time, so we rescheduled (at the cost of another $150, a drop in the bucket at this point) for the October test.
Yet, the summer came and went. We worked, played, visited family, and all the while continued to tell our "law school" plan to anyone who asked, but both of us had our seeds of doubt. Knowing Ryan to be hard-working, with a bent towards perfectionism, I was unnerved to see him dragging his feet when it came to studying for such an important test.
With the October test just weeks away, we finally had to have it out -- discover the hold up and destroy it -- unclog whatever pipe was stopping the works. It came to light that neither of us was thrilled with the law school track, as much as we tried to be. It wasn't that we hated the idea, it was that neither of us were excited about it. He wasn't passionate about it; it was just his default plan.
A few more weeks passed. We now knew Law school was not it, but we had no idea what was "it." For a couple of months there we were just existing, distracting ourselves, and trying not to think too much about the future.
Somewhere around Halloween, we knew it was time for a new plan. We tossed around Economics grad school, programming, (both of which he studied at BYU), but still, nothing sparked. They all sounded like cop-outs that could potentially make us a stable living, but were not inspiring to Ryan.
Then, I asked Ryan a crucial question: "What is your dream? When you were a kid, what did you tell people you wanted to be when you grew up?" Without thinking, he answered: "Aeronautical engineer, pilot, airplane mechanic, something -- anything to do with aviation."
So, that was surprise. In nearly four years of marriage, I can only recall him once expressing an interest in aviation -- but he expressed interest in so many things, I could never have guessed this was his real dream.
But, we ran with it. Without much idea how to proceed, we began to blindly Google such vague things as "aviation careers" and "commercial pilot training requirements". Within a few hours we had considered basically everything from Flight Attendant to Air Force ROTC, but when Ryan spoke the words, "Hey. . .what about Air Traffic Control?" the decision had already made it self.
I can't describe it any other way but to say that it clicked. If you've heard anything about ATC, you've probably heard that it is considered one of the most stressful jobs a person can have. It's very challenging and requires constant focus and detailed attention. To some people that would be hell, but for Ryan, it sounded like a perfect fit.
Something in his personality causes him to bear stress remarkably well. And by that I do not mean that he remains cheerful and light-hearted in the face of stress, but that he retains the ability to think clearly, act decisively, and make good decisions under pressure. Even when he's relaxed and cheerful, he never seems to entirely forget the weight of his responsibilities.
So, once we looked into it, we found a school with classes starting in January. No need to waste any more time -- we are moving to Pennsylvania on December 17th. Total time between "Hey -- what about Air Traffic Control?" and "Moving Day" = 6 weeks.