If Pathwalking is about choosing a direction and walking a path, what do you do when there are multiple goals you seek?
I have been perplexed by this very question pretty much all of my adult life. And when I was younger, this actually tripped me up frequently. I wanted to do and be different things that were not necessarily congruent with one another, which made my choices even harder.
For a long time, I was an expert at explaining how NOT to approach this. In fact, for the longest time I was extremely proficient at learning how NOT to do certain things. I looked at my errors and my mistakes and my failures, and while I learned from them, I missed probably the most important lesson from them. I would step from one path to the next, completely and totally, and try anew.
While there are times that’s a good idea, it is amazing to me now how many times that’s not the way to do it. Ok, I failed…but while I didn’t necessarily give up, neither did I try again. I chose a wholly new path.
BUT – and I cannot stress this enough – more often than not what I chose was a less challenging path. I would choose a path of least resistance, and as such spent over a decade letting life live me.
I dreamed of becoming a DJ. I spent college practically living in the radio station (for which I won an “award” senior year), even though this was not my major. I made a couple attempts to get into radio professionally, but didn’t get very far. And then, out of the blue, my dream job appeared. I interviewed for it, did everything right, yet did not get it. While that episode of my life led to a relatively bold choice (I remained on the East Coast rather than return to the Midwest as I’d been preparing to do) I would never again try to get into radio.
I could have chosen other avenues to get into radio. If I had been willing to take risks, apply to small markets in out-of-the-way parts of the country, been willing to utterly step out of my comfort zones, it’s possible I could have gone somewhere in the industry had I taken such a step. But I didn’t.
I majored in theatre in college. No, I didn’t want to be an actor – I wanted to be a director. I had one professional gig in an off-off-off Broadway (as in New Jersey) theatre company, working as an assistant to the managing and technical directors. I learned from this that I was unwilling to make the sacrifices that professional theatre demands (you pretty much eat, breathe, sleep whatever show is in production – social life be damned). After this episode, I determined theatre was just not for me, and have not worked in the art (save writing some reviews) since.
I wrote my first full-length sci-fi story when I was nine. It’s fifty pages, illustrated by me, and I have to wonder had a child psychologist seen this at the time if they’d have locked me away. I would continue to write through my teen years, stopping in college. I started again in my mid twenties, and completed along the way several novel-length works. I got the first book in my series professionally edited and sought representation. Unsuccessfully. After numerous rejections, I stopped seeking an agent for that work.
These are just three of the paths I have started, but abandoned in my life. While I often looked at this as having not chosen at all (since all involved risks I either minimally or did not at all take), I NOW have a much broader perspective on this. I do not lament what might have been, I do not regret my choices or lack of choices along the way.
What DO you do when there are multiple goals? I used to get so caught up in what I called the “crossroads” that I would often make no choice at all, and let life live me. However, as Pathwalking has taught me, no path is singular. There is no one choice, there are always many. And there is no reason you cannot take more than one path.
Remember, the goal is of less import than the path itself. That’s so very easy to forget, especially in the goal-oriented world we live in. But the path is really where it all lies. Life is about paths taken and not taken, and Pathwalking is about choosing those paths.
Paths are not a track you are trapped upon. You can choose a path that will lead you to the relationship, career, and ultimately happiness most desired. The toughest part of this is simply making the choices themselves.
We will not walk the same path all of our life. And we are only restricted by the restrictions we place on ourselves. I can be who I want, do what I want, and ultimately find happiness in my life. Even with multiple goals, I can attain them all. It is a matter of choice.
I have explained that you can have multiple goals and Pathwalk, but I have not explained how to prioritize and actually work with them. This is an idea that will be utterly different for me than it will for anyone else – but I think we’ll explore that further next week. Pathwalking is a work in progress, and part of my personal path is to share how I am walking it with you.
Have you chosen your paths, or avoided making choices in your life?
This is the sixty-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.