Before I even tell you why I’ve decided to start a personal blog, I think I’ll throw a little of my life philosophy out there. I think the reason will become apparent as this thing unwinds.
I tend to approach life as a hike in the woods. At times, the path ahead is clear and requires very little decision-making other than to just keep forging forward. Other times, a path shows up on the side of the main trail and you have to make a decision: veer off and see where that leads, knowing that it may go places from which you can’t navigate back, or stay on the known trail.
How you react to those side trails is critical, I think. At different stages of my life, I’ve reacted differently. I will admit that my natural bent is to take those paths, often and without much deliberation. Call it curiosity, or maybe it’s ADD… who knows? Give me a flat, wide path with no margin for error and clearly marked directions, and I tend to get bored. I like to explore, I like to actively navigate.
Luckily, I found a mate who is the opposite. He likes a clearly marked path with a known destination and amenities along the way. We keep each other balanced – he keeps us moving forward and I make us explore now and then. If I really think about the analogy, he is often still on the main trail, making progress and staying organized while I am bounding in and out of the side trails, safe in the knowledge that he is holding us to a forward course.
To push the analogy one step further (pun intended), one of our jobs as parents is to teach our children the basics of safe hiking – be aware of your surroundings, stick with people with a good sense of direction, and know when you need to ask the way. As they get older, they find more of their own trails to follow and it’s our role to bite our lips and let them go.
Of course, we sometimes arrive at the proverbial crossroads and have to actually pause to consider our next direction.
And that’s where we are now. But interestingly, we’ve all arrived at our own crossroads simultaneously. Our two children both just graduated from college and are standing on the precipice of the rest of their lives, the path ahead of them unknown and unclear. At the same time, my husband and I have decided to do a bit of a reboot – exactly on our 25th anniversary, we unlocked the door of our new home on the other side of the country. Both of us are East Coast born and bred, but we’ve decided to move to the Southwest, a new trail and maybe a new direction.
The uncertainty in all of our lives is daunting but the possibilities are breathtaking. And so, I’ve decided to chronicle this moment at the crossroads because I think it’s an unusual experience for a family to reach this moment simultaneously but separately… and because I’m hoping it will keep my thoughts grounded, my empathy honed, as we all take those first tentative steps forward.