I had a friend at university who knew she wanted to be a doctor from the time she was little. Only her specialty changed a few times, but by the time medical school came around, that was officially sorted. Today, she’s a successful OBGYN living a happy life in the Pacific Northwest. I was always in awe of that focus. Another friend decided by the age of fifteen that she wanted to be a teacher and a mom. She met both of her goals and seems fully content in her life.
“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.” – Oprah Winfrey
My path took more of a zigzag, and I’m still finding new ways to ramble along the trail. I often wondered how my friends knew that was the path for them? Staunch in their convictions and secure in their choices, these women followed their hearts. I did the same, and for years I thought my path was set, but apparently there was change afoot. My path, set for well over a decade shifted physically, professionally, mentally and geographically. What about you? Have you found your path? Are you still on your journey? Has your path had twists and turns? Were you in control of those bends in the road or did they have a mind of their own?
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
I believe that everything is on our path for a reason, even if we don’t know it yet. People we meet, directions we choose and decisions we make form that path. For some of us, it is a set one –with limited ebb and flow and minimal stressors – often unchanging. For others the path is tumultuous and when it calms we find ourselves not wanting to anger the powers that be. And still, for others of us the stationary doesn’t work. What is the same, considered sometimes stagnant, lasts for a while until we’re yearning for a change. Perhaps it’s a theoretical one, a relationship one, a professional one, geographic one or otherwise, but that hunger has strong pull. Perhaps there were shifts beyond our control and the results force us to look for new paths and new ways – trying to remember there’s no such thing as only one perfect plan. Whatever the situation, the path continues.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road does not mean they are lost.” – Dalai Lama
There are times my husband and I have been hiking and it seems as if the path ends. We could go back the same way we came, head back to see if there’s a meandering direction or see if there’s some way we can push ahead to blaze a path of our own. The first is safe, but we know exactly what’s in front of us. The second has minimal risk since if we don’t like the off shoots, we could head back on the original trail. The third catapults risk to new heights since we have no idea what lays on the other side of the trees, brush or field in front of us. Perhaps it will be more of the same. Perhaps it will be better than the one we were on yet there’s always the chance that there’s danger ahead. Which would you choose?
“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot
I’ve often found conversations with those who’ve chosen similar winding pathways easier than those who’ve chosen the opposite. All are worthwhile, have merit, and in essence, often choosing pieces of each might truly formulate the best option for you. There’s ease in knowing you’re on whatever the ‘right’ one is for you at the time, yet angst in thinking the route you’ve wandered down isn’t the right one forever. Maybe your path is more a class 5 river rapid rather than that of a lazy river. It isn’t always easy and often the difficulty seems inescapable.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
A significant thing to remember is that most of us have the power to change our own path and without question, change our own attitude. It may start out as purely thoughts but might one day flourish to fruition – the possibilities are endless. Generations ago paths were more set. Many worked in one career or job for years later retiring to spend time with the ones they love, travel or take part in any of those other interests that fell outside of the time and space of work. Today, things are different. Today, many people have more than one career and more than a few various jobs in a lifetime. Many are swapping larger salaries for a more beneficial quality of life and making time for the things they love in order to find some semblance of a balance or focus that works for them – choosing to begin that second, third or fourth phase now in lieu of waiting till retirement. Whatever path you choose, be sure it’s right for you at the time – it might mean managing your own risk comfort level or heading full steam ahead to he unknown. More likely than not, you won’t ever be one-hundred percent certain, but, if you’re lucky enough to have a say in any of the direction that path wanders, it’s yours to control, yours to decide, yours to guide. Change the route, research, try, wiggle, test, stumble, scream, enjoy, stay the course – whichever you decide – find your own path.
For more of Stacey’s musings – follow her blog.