Paths

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both…”
– Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Sometimes in life, we come to a place where we feel as though we’re standing at a fork in the road, unsure of which path to take. Maybe we start enthusiastically down one path, only to turn around midway and realize that we should have taken the other. But when we start heading back, that path seems to have closed for good.

Or maybe it becomes too late to turn back at all. We are determined to follow our first chosen path to the end, then once we arrive at the end, we realize it’s not what we want… and the journey back to the fork in the road where we started would be too long. We might even reach the end of our lives before we get back to where we were.

Intuition and our own happiness meter ought to tell us which path is right, right? But what if the path that makes you happy is one that won’t fulfill you in terms of financial stability or career? A path that’s full of “all the good things” in life (money, lucrative career, nice car, etc.) might seem to be the right one, but… what if those things don’t make you happy? Everyone’s definition of happiness is different. I suppose the smart move would be to do what makes you happy, regardless of whether or not it might seem “right” in the eyes of society or your peers.

How do you know when you’ve gotten on the path that will make you happy forever? Some paths may grant temporary happiness – and that’s fine. But what about the path that leads to lasting happiness? How do you know when you’ve reached it? Intuition – so ephemeral – like a flash in the dark? As I said before, I suppose it’s different for each person. Only YOU can know what makes YOU happy, whether it’s the popular decision or not.

Now that I’ve repeated myself a few times… I shall end this post. 🙂

16 thoughts on “Paths

  1. I’m always thinking about this subject, wondering where to take myself and my life and what makes me happy. I totally agree you need to find what works for you and not what other people expect or tell you to do and not be afraid to go for what you want. Let’s hope the right path reveals itself soon!

    Like

  2. Good post, Maggie.

    One of the questions you ask , I think, is especially important. “How do you know when you’ve gotten on the path that will make you happy forever?” I have two responses to that,

    ONE: A way to tell if you are on the wrong path is: if you keep thinking that this is your “practice life”, or your “temporary situation” endured until the right one comes along, you’re letting your life pass you by.

    And, TWO: I like Shakspear’s Hamlet saying “…there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

    Like

    1. I like to think that life is what you make it. If you want to be happy, then you’ll be happy. But if you want to be depressed and complain, then life is going to suck no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

      Like

  3. How do you know when you’ve gotten on the path that will make you happy forever?

    I doubt that such a path exists, Maggie. When we shop for clothes, we shop for what seems a good fit right NOW. Same for happiness.

    What made me happy in my 20’s would not make me happy now.
    Same for my 30’s and 40’s.
    We change, we grow, we pivot, we experience.

    Our best chance at “lasting happiness” is to accept that nothing lasts for ever ~ when we are willing to let go of anything that isn’t working . . . we free up both hands to reach for something that is a better fit with who we are today.

    Like

    1. Hmm… maybe there are just different “right” paths for where you are in life at different points. Being happy where you are makes a lot of sense. 🙂

      Like

    2. I agree, there is no “happy forever.” Even if the same thing would satisfy you forever (which it won’t), the things themselves (success, fame, money, beauty) are not permanent. People change, and the people around you are changing just as much as you are. I would be alarmed by somebody who would be made endlessly happy by the same movie, the same clothes, the same book (that being said, my favorite movie has been the same since the early 1970s, so maybe I’m wrong… I do see and like a lot of other movies, though. I don’t just watch the same one over and over.).

      And a lot of people romanticize the options they didn’t take. They see the problems with the path they’re on, and don’t think about the difficulties the other path would have contained.

      People who are trying (unsuccessfully) for conventional publication often romanticize self-publishing, for example. And people who self-pub think, “Boy, it would be great if somebody else was doing all this for me.”

      Like

  4. You asked: How do you know when you’ve gotten on the path that will make you happy forever?

    I don’t know the answer, however, I’ll share with you one of my favourite quotes of all time that reaffirms me on many decisions I make about where I am in life.

    “We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives or perfect it for our lives to come. There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold.” – Milan Kundera.

    Like

    1. That is a really good quote. It’s true that we can’t compare our life to any other life we’ve had since this is the only one. I think that’s why we sometimes make the mistake of comparing our lives to others’ lives. Hmm… interesting!

      Like

  5. Someone prayed for me once and said that they saw me at a fork with a stop sign on one road and a yield sign on the other. She said God wanted me to STOP and YIELD-trusting in Him to direct my steps.

    🙂

    Like

    1. That’s good advice. It’s so hard to pray with all the distractions of the world… but I know God has never led me down the wrong path – and he never will.

      Like

  6. Even Frost was not sure of his decision. But at the end of the poem he says he is happy that his decision made all the difference, as he dared to follow his conscience, without influenced by the world around. Just follow our heart – that is all we could do.

    Like

  7. Since someone brought up happiness….I believe that happiness comes from within. If we are constantly living from the outside in we will never be content or truly happy. Because we are relying on people or things to bring us happiness. When we live on the inside out, we can draw from the Holy Spirit which is always producing joy and other fruit.

    I think too many people look for things rather than God for fulfillment and peace. 🙂 Hope this isn’t straying away from op.

    Like

Comments are closed.