The Road Less Traveled….
Picture it…Sicily…Nope, kidding, not a Golden Girls episode for those of you who remember (one of my most favorite shows though). Picture it, Darlington, driving down a country road, 2016. You pass a field with a long wooden fence around it. The fence has high grass, weeds and bushes on either side of it. Its hard to see the fence in some places. And lo and behold, there it is. A black and white cat walking on the top of the very narrow fence line. I turned the car around in efforts to snap a picture of the moment but the cat had already jumped down. So you will have to picture it for yourself.
So many thoughts went into that moment. First, dissapointed that I couldn’t capture the photo. But it got me thinking about his journey on that fence. Where was he going? Where was he coming from? There were no houses nearby, but he looked healthy at the quick glance I got of him. And why was he walking on the fence line? Was it because the weeds were in the way? Was it because it was wet from the recent rain the hour before? Or did he just want a different view? Whatever his plans were, he decided to take the road less traveled.
In life, most of us prefer to take the road most traveled on. It’s the road we are most comfortable traveling on. It doesn’t matter that it might be the long route, or the route with the most potholes. We continue to travel that same road, day after day, and then wonder why our outcome is the same. Or even worse, we don’t even realize that our outcome is the same. We just take life at really low levels of face value and exist.
What if there were a different route in life you could take? It still might be longer, still likely to have its own potholes, but it would give you a different perspective on this life you are living. Sometimes that route is the road less traveled.
You have to be brave to travel new routes sometimes. Its not always an adventure. There might even be times that you fall off the side of the road. Back to the cat, who knows, maybe he didn’t jump down off the fence. Maybe he fell off. Either way, it was a risk he took in traveling the fence line. And whether he jumped or he fell off, he landed on his feet.
Sometimes you have to think outside the box to find the road less traveled. The cat probably didn’t want to wade through all of the weeds to get to where he was going. Neither do we. So he figured out an alternative plan. And it was mostly smooth sailing I imagine. Unobstructed view and route. Required a little more balance and agility but doable. And guaranteed to not have any other cats or people in his way.
Sometimes that route is right in front of us but we can’t see it. Hard to see the forest for the trees on most days. Sometimes, we don’t even get down any route. Sometimes, we get stuck in the proverbial rut, just spinning our wheels. We can’t get out and wasting all of our precious time and energy trying to do so.
On those days, sometimes it’s best just to stop. Quit spinning in the rut. Just stop. Regroup yourself. Sometimes just stopping allows you to resettle and give your car a break for a minute. Maybe even pull out your map to see if there is a different route you can take. The route may have its own potholes and weeds too, and they won’t be labeled on the map. You’ll just have to figure out how to avoid them on your journey. Or deal with them in a different way if you do get stuck in one.
Back to the cat, there is perhaps another reason he was on the fence. Maybe there was a bird sitting there, a prize he wanted to get. So he gets up on the fence to take a chance. But the bird flies off, and he is left up there on that fence. He might be too scared to jump down now, but he knows he has to keep walking. So he does, and it turns out fine. He didn’t get the bird but he took the chance. He wouldn’t have gotten the bird while sitting down on the ground, that’s for sure.
Be like the cat, take a chance, take the road less traveled sometimes. It might be easy, it might be hard, but take it occasionally. It may end up being the best option in the long run.
Part of the Chronicles of Turning 40, a series