As I record this opening today, I’m filled with emotion because I just dropped off my son Ryan at UCLA for his freshmen orientation. Check the show notes for more reflections about this epic snapshot moment.

Last night, Ryan and I stayed up late talking about what he wants to study in college and more importantly, how we hope his college and career journey will be one that lights him up. 

It had me thinking about this conversation with Good Life Project podcaster Jonathan Fields. Jonathan is the creator of SparkTypes and a new podcast Sparked, which helps you find work that makes you come alive.

Jonathan and I recorded this episode a few years ago, just before Jonathan was getting ready to take his daughter to her freshmen year in college. It’s filled with heart, insight and wisdom and a reminder that no matter what chapter we or our children are starting, it’s always the right time to ask ourselves the big questions about who we are and what we are here to do.

Epic Snapshot Moment Reflections with Ryan

He’s off to orientation and going to UCLA a month from now

I didn’t do the college reveal post in the spring, though I’ve told many of you personally, because I think so much emphasis during that time gets placed on what school kids do or don’t get into. I want to be part of the conversation that reminds us that college is not the only path our children can take after high school and that there are so many schools that are beautiful matches for students.

But today, with tears streaming down my face as I go on a walk post orientation drop-off, I really wanted to share this with you…

Ryan is going to UCLA! Omg Ryan is going to UCLA!!

I want to share it because:

💜 UCLA is where Chris and I met over 30 years ago and where I took my first independent moves to becoming the person I am today.

💜 From the time we started going to UCLA’s family camp Bruin Woods, Ryan has dreamed about attending, mastering the 8 clap at a young age, going to UCLA basketball sleepaway camp and putting UCLA on his 9th grade vision board.

💜 Ryan worked with my dear friend from UCLA @cindykmcc on his college search application and essays. With neurodivergent boys of her own, she was so patient with Ryan and adapted the process to meet him where he was.

💜 Ryan’s conversation last fall with Julie Lythcott-Haims on the podcast was part of Ryan’s journey to embracing and celebrating who he is, prompted him to do his college essays voice to text, and to be authentic about his life journey and identity in his essays.

💜 Finally…because my Dad, who died in December, would be so thrilled that he is here, with my mother down the street, and a family support system of aunts  uncles and cousins if Ryan needs them.

While there were challenging days on his journey where we could not imagine him ready to do this, Ryan has grown so much. He is as prepared as he could be for this next chapter. We are so proud of him and excited for him, but more than that he is so proud of himself and excited himself.

It seems Ryan was fated to go to UCLA. Dreams can come true. But they do when, as my Dad always said, you pursue your fate. And wow did Ryan do that!

To hear more about Ryan’s journey:

YOLO (You Only Live Once) and other Milestone Reflections with Ryan Neale

Embracing Neurodiversity and Being an Adult with Julie Lythcott-Haims and Ryan Neale


Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full show notes from the original episode here: Ep 63: A Maker’s Journey to a Good Life with Jonathan Fields


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