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Friday, October 21, 2016

Three Paths

One of the things that I think I've learn as an "older adult" is that (in general) all we have been through has been to prepare us for now, just as now is to prepare us for tomorrow.  Pretty deep, huh?  Especially for a kid from a housing project, but so I digress.  What I can't digress from is that I've reached a kind of fork in my road of life.  Maybe it's more like a trident than a fork, as I can see three distinct paths in front of me:

Path One...This is the familiar path.  Predictability is a wonderful thing, and we humans have it coded into our DNA, which is why, for example, racism is such a problem (we tend to not be afraid of those who are "like" us and fearful of those who are different and, by extension, unpredictable) with our species.  The problem with path one, I suspect, is that it's rather circular; it may simply bring me back to where I am now, but without the benefit of knowing that place for the very first time*.

Path Two...This is the dark path.  This is the path of the worst possible (whatever that is) happening.  This is the path where the past plays an out-sized role, where failings, both real and perceived, suck up all the oxygen in the room.  This is the path of "what if...?".  Unlike the two other paths, this more like an outcome than a choice, a kind of dark gravity.

Path Three...This the uncertain path.  This is the path of taking a chance.

When I write it out, it's pretty clear how the paths differ, and which path is likely the "best" (if there is such a thing), at least for me, at least for now.  Yet, why does it seem so very, very difficult?  I think the answer is embedded in path one, namely an almost genetic wiring for the familiar, a need to feel safe.  I think it's also a function my upbringing, an extension of economic insecurity coupled with a tendency towards guilt whenever I may want to do something that seem (on the surface) to be for me.

All of this seems so simple, especially when I try to look at myself from the outside.  Yet step inside my head and it becomes far more complex.  If you've ever been through a transition in your life perhaps you know what I mean.

"Always looks so good on the outside
When you get to believin'  it's true, then you know
That you're on your way"'
(David Gates, Been Too Long On The Road)

It's worth noting though that talking yourself onto a particular path is far easier than actually walking it.  Good thing I'm a "tough" hombre.

(*) Reference the title of this blog.

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