Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Roads Not Taken.


Some embrace it like an old friend. Some fear it like a terminal disease. Regardless of who you are or what your stance, one thing is for sure. Change is inevitable. 

When I was a kid, I used to rearrange my room often. Being the night owl that I am, this usually occurred well into the evening. One minute, I'd be sitting on my bed listening to Heart, and the next minute I'm sliding my bed across the room. The first few times, my mom came into my room, a concerned look on her face, and she would ask me why in the world I was doing this at this hour. I had no explanation other than I just felt like a change or I couldn't sleep or why not now? After a while, she knew better than to ask anymore; I'm sure she just rolled her eyes at the familiar sounds of change coming from my room above. I loved changing my room. This change, I welcomed. This change was always good. This change...I could control.

Unexpected change, on the other hand, is not something I - and probably you - generally readily embrace. Just when we think we're on the right path, going in just the right direction, the winds change and we're forced to choose something different. A new road. An uncharted course.

New paths are scary; treacherous. We take inventory of their cost and we search for their meaning. The direction is unknown; the terrain questionable; what lies along the way, and at the end, a mystery. And mysterious unknowns are extremely intimidating. They make us exponentially vulnerable; they open us up to new opportunities for failure or a regression of progress we once fought so hard to make. They put us at risk of losing things that are important to us. Like People. And Pride.

But like a once well-worn path no longer trod, roads not taken will, eventually, become overgrown. So overgrown, in fact, that when we find ourselves upon them once again they may seem completely impassable; impossible to venture down. And it is likely we will inevitably regret not taking them the first, or second, or third, time around, when it might have been easier. 

Roads, however, that continually come into view over the course of our lives; roads that we once passed by without attention or much notice; roads we may have seen but not have been ready or mature enough or wise enough to know how to investigate each time they came into view; those roads are still worth being explored. We might need a machete by the time we decide to take it, but at least the road is still there. Waiting. Calling.

We cannot experience the beauty of a new road if we are resistant to change. And we may, one day, be filled with regret over our resistances and weep over roads not taken. 

Embrace the changes that come, whether welcome or unexpected. They define you. They refine you. They create your story. And take the road that's calling you. Take it before it's too late.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." 
- Henry David Thoreau


  1. Great post! This year will bring a lot of change to our family, and our son (and my husband in a lot of ways) doesn't like change. At all. (This is the child who literally had a meltdown in Lowes when he was 7 because I was going to change a light switch to a dimmer... yeah...) I'm going to save this for him to read!

  2. Oh my! Well, here's hoping for averted meltdowns in the future! ;)