I have come to realize that if I am having doubts and issues and struggles along MY path, it is certain you are too. Pathwalking began as a challenge to myself to post something to the blog weekly, and has evolved into a lifestyle choice, and a philosophy that I think can be beneficial to practically everyone.
But with any lifestyle choice that encourages going “against the grain” or outside of the “status quo”, there are unique challenges. Many of these have to do with external forces, some personal like friends, family and coworkers…some are more abstract and impersonal, like government officials and business moguls and the economy.
Introvert or extrovert, we are social creatures. I have yet to meet anyone who did not, in some form or other, seek comfort or validation or some other type of acknowledgement from other people. Praise or scorn, approval or ridicule, love or hate, we need to get at least some recognition from outside of our own heads.
We all measure success and failure in different ways. So, too, do those around us. And when we look to them for acknowledgement, when we receive none, or worse, the opposite of what we are seeking, our energy can be sapped and forward momentum halted.
Yes, it is important that we realize how much more of our issues are internal rather than external. Yes, we need to be more accountable for our own lives, emotions, and actions. However, we cannot discount the influence of the world around us, or our need for outside input.
I want to share with you the path I am currently choosing to walk. There are several reasons why I am going to get this personal, most of which have to do with my own clarity of thought.
I have gotten two short stories published in anthologies. I have self-published the first year of Pathwalking in book form. I have written numerous magazine articles, content for websites, press releases, and business-related texts. I have four completed but as-yet unpublished novels, and another four novelettes. I am a writer, and at least some kind of writing finds its way from my mind through my fingers across the keyboard and into readable form daily.
Meanwhile, I work at a small retail shop and spa as a manager with several different hats. My hours are somewhat funky, but I like my job and my coworkers. I do not dread going to work like I have during my experience in Corporate America, but I DO miss the pay and benefits that lifestyle provided me. I do NOT, however, miss the stress, the corporate politics, and often ludicrous rules and restrictions.
I also am administrator for a couple different websites, and pick up occasional odd jobs for a small business I created for myself. I am additionally an officer of a local Chamber of Commerce. Suffice it to say, answering the question “What do you do for a living?” changes depending on who is asking…or my mood…or which group I am a part of…or other factors at the time.
I am currently unmarried, but in a loving and stable relationship. We have a home and cat together.
While I see many aspects of my life as successful, there are certainly others out there who see differently. Some see my relationship and question our remaining unmarried. Some see my job, and question why I accept strange hours and a low salary. Some see my writing, and question how I can believe in its strength. Some people see my abilities with computers and technology, and question why I have not pursued this further.
It can be difficult to explain to people that while I am working on making changes in my life to certain aspects of it, I have made the choices that have brought me here. More than that, I am happy to be on this path of my own choosing. Yes, it is imperfect, but it is mine. And more than that, it is not static, it can be and is constantly being changed.
The relationship grows. Jobs transform. My writing evolves. I can choose to pursue skills with technology further.
My point is that even when outside influences cause me to question my choices, my actions, and my plans, I can ask myself if what they are offering me is valid and helpful, or baseless and unconstructive. Either way, it is a matter of social interaction, which is essential to my overall wellbeing. How I react to that interaction is, you guessed it, a choice. And because I am only human, some days I choose better than others.
Pathwalking is a constant, ever-evolving choice. But I have come to believe it is an outstanding choice. I learn new things along my path every day – don’t you?
This is the eighty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.