This is my eldest son doing what he loves best, harness racing. In this shot, taken a few months ago, he had begun to drive the horses while they were training.
At the beginning of this year he moved to a country town about an hours drive away to study how to be a Harness Racing driver / trainer. Finally he had followed his heart and found his passion in life.
Like many teenager, my eldest son had no idea what he wanted to do when he left school. He’s a talented sportsman and toyed with the idea of trying to get to a USA College in a basketball program but decided against it. Then he thought he might try out for an Australian Rules football team, but decided against that too. In between he thought of going into different trades and even got his certification to be a Personal Trainer. But nothing he tried seemed to be right for him.
We talked about it often, sometimes we yelled at each other, that’s just the way we are. I’d like to think I’m close with him and his brothers. Eventually he told me he would really like to try harness racing. He had found a course and talked to the coordinator. I told him that if he really wanted to pursue harness racing as a career, he should go ahead and do it. My only condition was that he organised it all himself. See, I’d helped him with most of his other career choices and they had all fallen by the wayside. I finally realised he had to take the reins (so to speak) and take responsibility for his own life and his own decisions.
He has never looked back. I’ve still kept the text message he sent me after his first day at the course. It said “This is it. Found what I want to do. Love it!”
It’s a wonderful feeling when your children find something in life they are not only passionate about but they are also good at, as well as something that has the capacity to earn them a living. The life of a Harness Racing driver / trainer is not an easy one. There are 6am starts no matter what the time of year or weather. The horses have to be looked after, worked, groomed, fed, etc. It can be very physical and there is always the chance of being kicked or bitten. But every occupation has its downside and if the downside doesn’t faze you and, despite everything, you still love what you do, then you are truly one of the lucky ones.
I think finding his passion in life has also given him the confidence to be more independent. I get less text messages asking for me to call him than I did when he first moved away. He knows how to cook, clean and do his own laundry. This week he has a week off from his course and he organised some work experience at a large stable near his grandmother. On his own. Without anyone’s help.
I don’t get to see my eldest son very often. It might be only a short drive away but I still have obligations to my other two sons who still live at home, oh and there’s work too. But when I get the chance I go down to see him and he sometimes comes home for flying visits. I miss him dreadfully but I’m so happy that he’s happy. And I am very proud of him.