I just picked up a copy of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education from the library and let me tell you it is blowing my adult mind! The title is really a bit misleading, as anyone who is interested in life and learning can get amazing value from this book. In fact, I think it is the most educated and the most adult of us that have the most to learn from this read.
If you’ve ever quit your job to follow your passions or hopped off of your career track to be a stay at home parent or just always followed the beat of your own drum, you will really appreciate this book. Even if you absolutely love(d) school, like me, you will still find this book to be very inspirational. Maybe its an even better read for those of us that have never questioned the whole school experience.
There are so many examples of famous folks who have side stepped traditional schooling because their passions were too firey to be institutionalized. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah, John Meyer, Jim Carrey, among many others were all college or even high school “drop outs”. Perhaps they were dropping into something a bit deeper.
Today, as a stay at home mom that keeps “staying home”, I do feel a bit like a drop-out of sorts. I continue to get asked when I am going to rejoin the “real world”, or if I fear my career skill sets are becoming faded memories, or if I might be losing myself in motherhood. The truth for me continues to be that side stepping an educational institution or corporation at this point in my life has been bringing me closer and closer to an authentic version of myself. When you are so busy achieving and attaining, your perspective on your true values can get a bit muddied.
It seems this is why big changes in our lives have the power to force a reconnection with the wisdom of our inner voices. A job loss, a major illness or death, the birth of a child, are all gifts in a way. It at times takes more courage to take charge of a big change without your boss, your baby, or your body making the decision for you.
The theme that most excites me from the book and the path of self-directed education/unschooling is the emphasis on taking ownership and authorship of your own life. If you want to learn something, get out there. If you want to start your own business, do it! You are the author of your own life! It sounds fairly obvious, but if you are like me, you have to continually dig deep to find that unclouded version of yourself.
Maybe your kids can be one of these amazing children that have gone from homeschooling to Harvard. Or maybe you’ll be inspired as an adult to join a local Theater group or take flying lessons or make your own yogurt. Whatever is your jam, you should be jamming. Don’t wait for graduation or retirement or a promotion or a vacation to start living your good life. Just live big right now.