Friday, March 18, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 87

So many times on the road of life, I ignored side streets and winding paths, feeling sure that I must stay focused on the main street in order to reach my goals and become "successful". How many opportunities did I pass up in fear that I would fail? And when I did (and that seems to be a given for human beings), how much time I've wasted beating myself up for failings beyond my much so that I almost began to believe my life was over? And how many of my decisions were based, not on what was in my heart, but what I had been told was the path to success by others intent on having their own needs met?

And yet, down those side streets and hidden paths lie possiblitites...alternate lives....that are every bit as fulfilling, if not more so. They don't come with peer approval. My mother won't phone me and tell me how thrilled she is I took that route. I won't see my life unfold in a TV sitcom. But I can be happy and fulfilled without achieving the American dream of wealth and status. I can be happy in my skin even if I don't look like a super-model, drive a BMW and have a locking office door with a title on the name placard.

I have friends that have turned away from the expectations of others to lead authentic lives. Who travel the globe on a shoestring budget. Who make art, and only art, for a living. Who have started new careers when they should be looking at retirement. Who return to school and join students half their age, just for the exhileration of learning something new. Who thrive in the exploration of nature. They don't have big houses, new cars, fancy toys....but they do have lives. And they are without exception, happy.

Einstein said that to try the same thing over and over again and expect different results was insanity. Would this squirrel be devouring a gourmet meal of birdseed if he had thought to himself, I won't fit on this feeder? I'm not saying the American Dream is a bad thing, but I see so many people beel inadequate because they were unable to find their piece of that dream...and feel so much anger for those that did. Anger that consumes their lives to a point they fail to thrive.

So goodbye to the main street of life. I'm making a turn onto a new street. I don't know where it will lead, but if it only leads me to see life a little differently, to feel less need to compete, to be more forgiving and forthgiving, to learn to live with less and experience more, I will have found a better path in life. I'm off to explore new lands.

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