I have never chosen the conventional path.
Before I came up with the idea of Pathwalking, I still never managed to conform to any normal path. This goes back a long, long ways as I examine it.
As a kid I was not like the other kids in a number of ways I read at a higher level, I came from one of at the time few single-parent homes. I never quite meshed with the religious community in which I was raised, I always felt like an outsider, never really a part of the goings-on in the groups.
When I got to middle school and high school I was a geek. A nerd. I sang in choir, I acted in the plays and built the sets after school. I was never an athlete, I was part of a crowd that relished in playing Dungeons and Dragons and drinking highly caffeinated soda til the early hours of the morning.
I found a group where I sort-of belonged. I developed a circle of friends and had people with whom I would hang out during those years.
Then came college. Unlike the majority of my friends, who either had another year or two of high school or chose to attend a college within a five hour drive of home, I went halfway across the country. I started again, I knew nobody and was on my own.
Even after I chose my major, I still was on an unconventional path. I didn’t really hang out with other people in my degree program, I focused my attention elsewhere. I was something of an outsider, a total nonconformist within what is traditionally a tight-knit albeit competitive circle. I gained a ton of life experience attending college on my own so far away, though I still was looking for who I was and what I wanted to be.
After college I found work. That’s what you do, right? Go back for more schooling or go find a job. I found a place to live, I found a job. I tried to work within that framework, and I muddled through.
I went from one job to another. I moved around every five to seven years. I never landed that job that utilized all my skillsets, never settled into one place for more than a year or two.
Then the unexpected. I was in a serious accident that hospitalized me for a while and took a year to fully recover from. I had to rebuild myself physically.
That experience is probably where I first began to see this idea. I hadn’t formed it, I certainly didn’t put a name to it, but there was something there. I came out of that a different person, someone who had faced the possibility that there were things I could never do again – and refused to accept that.
For the first time I manifested my reality. I saw myself fully healed, I saw my life returned to what I wanted it to be. No exceptions, no other reality…and that was how it went.
Over the next several years my life continued much as it had before. Bounced through a couple different jobs, never really found my place. I had begun to establish some real roots, started to connect with people whom I am still friends with now. I began to see that my path was not going to ever be what anyone else would consider ‘normal’.
Trials and errors. I started to look at what I was doing and to embrace that the unconventional path might be what was right for me. I never chose the easy way, and I started to think that was because I never wanted the easy way.
I majored in theatre. I wanted to be a director. I worked in radio, I wanted to be a DJ. I started writing fiction when I was nine years old, I wanted to be an author. None of these choices are easy paths, none of these are what someone might call normal. All of them have risk.
For a long time I made no choice. I didn’t pursue the path of the director because I found I only really enjoyed theatre when it was not the life-sucking all-encompassing experience that professionals worked in. I was a lot happier with theatre as a hobby.
I was unwilling to relocate to the middle-of-nowhere USA to work for a crappy little radio station. I couldn’t get more than a temp gig as a DJ in upstate NY, and I was afraid to completely restart my life again. I let that fall by the wayside, and retain an ear for 90’s grunge music and fond memories of cutting and splicing reel-to-reels.
I would start to write, then stop. Then I started again. One day I started a scene that evolved into a book that evolved into a series. Two books done and published, one complete and unedited and the fourth underway. I chose a path.
I started Pathwalking as a practice and began to flesh out this life philosophy over four years ago now. One of the elements of this experience has been to embrace that mine is and always will be the unconventional path. That is who I am, and that is what helps me to choose my direction.
Why am I writing about this today? Because I am at something of a crossroads in my life. My paths have led me to a place of uncertainty, and I have been struggling with depression and questioning the choices that have brought me here. Getting caught up in the “what ifs” of life can be disconcerting, but more it can be soul-crushing. Second-guessing what you did before is no way to choose in the here-and-now or to decide on what you want in the future. The key is to accept the choices, accept all of your successes and failures and then to learn from them going forward.
Mine has been the unconventional path. I recognize this, I am working on accepting this, and as such I am prepared to continue making choices that feel right for me, but most importantly that make me happy.
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Have you taken conventional or unconventional paths?
GOAL LOG – Week 5:
Diet: I am tracking what I am eating daily. Working on paying more attention to my choices.
Exercise: Fencing happened, but only one trip to the gym. Need to exercise more.
Writing: Four days of writing. One was only a few lines, but that is still writing.
This is the two-hundred fifteenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.