“So, where do you see yourself in five years?”
I was 23 when I realized the futility of scripting my path. I sat there across from my therapist, and said the words out loud that proved to be prophetic. “I’m not where I expected to be at 23.” I had intended to be either employed full-time, or headed off to grad school. Instead, I needed an additional semester to finish school, I was in some admittedly hot water, and the gravity of my father’s situation was crushing me, especially since it was only getting worse. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this moment before, but to me, it’s worth revisiting as I continue to chart the course of my life. Over ten years ago, I sat on that uncomfortable couch and realized that my life was not going to be typical or linear or traditional. I was leaving the path that so many of my friends were beginning to walk, filled with careers, partners, houses, that sort of thing. I was creating my own path, one that I would have to walk alone.
Now, I’m not disparaging anyone who walks the traditional path in life. Every life has its own trials and tribulations. You can choose to float, like I did for years, or you can commit. Once you start to make choices, you either feel sure about the decisions you’ve made, or you might regret them and second guess yourself. I know what it is to have buyer’s remorse. Also, once you start making choices, you now have things that you could lose. I’d say it’s worth it anyways, to go whole hog, to make choices that may one day burn you, as life is here to be engaged with. I don’t want to get to the end and realize that I’ve held back.
Life is to be lived, and I can confidently say that I’ve made my choice in how I’m going to approach whatever time I have left. I could play it safe, but right now, I’m trusting my intuition and gut so much more. I’m in the flow of life, just living each and every day, and making the most of it. I’m taking chances and a few risks, knowing that I could lose. Maybe that’s the benefit of having lost before, I know how to handle the disappointment. I’m always prepared for the absolute worst. I’m wired that way, but I’m learning to approach life with a bit more optimism. I’m starting to believe that life should be approached with a sense of adventure, as in, it’s the greatest adventure you’ll ever be on. Might as well make it as interesting as it can be, and have some fun out there.
So, what drives this path, this choice? Happiness. After everything that I’ve been through, I am not content to sleepwalk through this waking life. It is no longer acceptable. I’ve met people with life plans. They chart out how each year is going to go, when they’re going to get married, when they’re going to have children. Those types of plans, and terms like, “Forever Home,” make me queasy, and while that sort of thing can bring comfort to us, there also must be the realization that life is constantly changing and shifting, and we must be as flexible and adaptable as possible. When you’re young, you have a sense of adventure, at least most of us did. I think it’s worth bringing that approach into our adult lives. Right now, I’m finally embracing the exploration, and more importantly, the crippling uncertainty.
I used to assume that I was meant for something big. I think in some ways, that mindset has hurt me. Maybe having an expectations at all in life is the wrong way to approach it, I’m still not sure. All I know is that for the past four years, I wanted something markedly different than I want now. The shift was sudden and unexpected, and I’m still wrapping my mind around it.
In some ways I’m angry and embarrassed because the thing that I want was right there, right in front of me, but I didn’t see it. And yet, I knew that what drove me in life, that what still drives me is a love of people and the incredible stories that they tell. The difficult conversations, the real conversations that happen in life, they are what keep me going. They are the reason I’ve been able to survive all of these years. I’ve witnessed and held space for people who have been willing to share their true and authentic selves with me. I wish these conversations were more common, but maybe their rareness is what makes them so special.
What it really comes down to is that maybe, maybe I am meant to live a normal life, and that’s the freedom that I’ve been given. I can always come back to the traditional if I want to, if by some outside chance I meet someone amazing and choose to lead a regular life. That option still exists, but the longer I stay out here, figuring things out on my own, it does get addicting. You start to realize that you are stronger than you know, and now, each thing coming into my life is a conscious choice. Leaving the path was a conscious choice. The traditional path just never felt completely right to me, although I can’t say I haven’t attempted to walk it. I have dated very traditional people that did want that path, but each and every time, I felt like a fraud. I knew that when Dad got sick, that nothing was ever going to be the same. I can say unequivocally that that is the case. Each year, each new opportunity is something so different than I ever would have predicted for myself.
My father loved what he did, which has been both a blessing and a curse in terms of guidance. It’s a blessing because I believe that something for me is out there, but it’s taken my entire adult life to find it. This belief that work isn’t just work, that it can be loved, it means that I can never stop searching until I find that place to call my home. It’s ultimately a blessing, this mindset, because it’s a call to action, a command to not get complacent. We can’t stop until every aspect of our lives is something that we love, and that is another thing that I have agreed to. I will not stop searching until everything in my life is the way that I want it to be. The challenge that’s facing me is that I need to make sure I’m living the life I want to live, and not choosing a path because of what I’ve been through. I’m sure Dad would have appreciated me honoring him, but he wanted me to be happy, to make my own way. A lot of self inquiry and brutal honesty have ensued, as I try to make decisions as impartially as I can.
What will my path hold for me? I honestly have no idea. I can’t say where I’ll be in five years, and I honestly wish people would stop asking. At this point, I’m digging the uncertainty of it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no idea what I want, and I’m doing my best to just surrender to each and every moment of every day. I want to pay attention as much as possible, so that I don’t miss something when it’s so obvious. It used to seem so daunting, creating one’s own life, but I’ve fallen in love with it. I’m more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been, and I am not afraid anymore. This is my life, and I’m choosing to see it through a lens of love rather than fear, and that’s made a world of difference. Different things keep coming up for me, internally, and I do my best to meet them from a place of compassion.
This blog, as I’m sure y’all know, is incredibly important to me. I don’t get paid to do this, it’s for the love of the game. I ask nothing of you, only that you come with me on this journey if it’s something that interests you. I promise to keep it as interesting as I can handle. Thanks for reading.
2 thoughts on “The Path”
Count me in!
You are able to articulate what so many people are suffering through. I’m so happy that you have found your peaceful path even though it’s not supposed to be a path:-)
You are absolutely thousand percent correct in your approach
I want to be able to share your journey with others that are suffering
Keep the entries coming!
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Thank you for your feedback. It feels fantastic to be writing again. I’m glad that I’ve been able to pick it back up. I hope that my writing is able to benefit others as much as it’s benefitted me. For me, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
Share away! The entries will most definitely keep coming.
Thank you for reading.