Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Open Road?

Since my last significant personal transformation, which occurred a few years ago, I have looked at my life as if I were travelling on an open road. Those individuals close to me know the significance that the idea of an open road has on my life, and I hold that idea and the pursuit of it dear. Life has presented me many opportunities and possibilities, and I do not regret the choices I have made in the slightest. Sure, I wish I had scored higher in a class here or there, or that my relationships with some others had been better and more healthy. But at the same time, if given the chance I would not change who I am. "What happened happened and could not have happened any other way."

That brings me to where I stand today. The picture above is a poignant representation of my life currently: the open road does not seem so open right now. The choices before me seem fairly limited; my only decision is whether to turn back or keep heading forward. Since the transformation that I spoke of earlier, this has always been an easy decision, and I have always chosen to keep moving ahead. Not anymore. The road I am travelling has but two options, forward or backward. I can only see a little ways ahead; after that it becomes dark and the future becomes unknown. I hate the unknown, and even as I've grown used to it it still makes me uncomfortable. I cannot see far enough ahead to know if my road will become open again. Looking down, I see that the path itself is not a sure thing; at any moment I could miss a step and fall through. Making a mistake and taking a fall is not a terrible thing; as I said in my last post, failure is certainly not always a bad thing, and in many cases can be beneficial. However, the murky nature of the water below frightens me. If I fall from the path, I do not know where I will land. I do not know how far it is to the bottom. I do not know.

Take it in. Realize the uncertainty. Grasp the depth of the unknown. Now, understand that the road will be narrow at times. It will be broken and difficult to travel. Walt Whitman, my companion on the Open Road, knew this. "I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes; these are the days that must happen to you". If I am to earn my place in the world, if I am to find my path on the road, I must travel through the rough patches. I have to be willing to continue forward across rickety swinging bridges. I cannot let my fear of the unknown trump my desire for what the future has in store for me.

The road seems narrow right now. I see negativity and sadness all around me; the perfect future I had envisioned has not come to pass. But the road stretches on. There is more travelling to be done, more relationships to begin, more lives to touch and be touched by. It may be dark across that bridge, but there is nothing fulfilling about reliving the past. I would not trade where I am if I was given the chance. I am proud of who I am and where I have come from. I am excited about where I am going, even as I do not know the nature of my future. "Strong and content, I travel the open road."

And so on...

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