What do I need to do, I think to myself, to move on to whatever comes next in my life. This year, however, my son is also at a difficult crossroad, and trying to figure out exactly what direction his life is going to take. Direction seems to be the ongoing topic of the last few months in my household. I think of one of my favorite poems, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Published in 1920, it relates the tale of a lone traveler who comes to a fork in a road, and stops to ponder his choices before he selects a road to continue his journey. He contemplates each path in turn, finally deciding on the least used road, as while he is not sure where that path will lead, he is positive he does not want to go down the well used road.
In some ways, we are all like that weary traveler. Not always sure where we are going, but determined to get anywhere but where we are. As my son and I had what had to be our 833rd "discussion" about exactly what he was doing with himself, his days, and what exactly his plans were for the future, I pointed out that he couldn't possibly expect to keep doing the same things he's been doing, and expect different results. Clearly, something was going to have to change.
Him: Like what?
His perplexed look told me that my comment had sailed over his head, and even I had to admit that I might have been a little vague, but my thinking, once I explained it to him, was solid.
Seasons change. It might not be all that obvious here in the always balmy Southern California, but the subtle shifts in temperature in our various micro-climates, indicate the transition from winter to spring, summer, fall, and back to winter again. These changes, however small, are necessary for the natural world around us to grow and mature into their actual purpose, whether that be providing food, shelter, or some kind of service. Everything changes out of necessity.
Including us. But we are also the only beings that can make logical reasonable choices about what changes we make, when, and how those changes are implemented.
So the key thing for us is to decide not only what needs to change, but what changes would be most beneficial to our eventual growth. Sometimes, all that is needed is a slight tweak to our daily routine. Other times, we may be looking at a complete overhaul of our lives. Whatever it is, we remind ourselves that everything must change, or run the risk if spoiling or dying.
We are both ready for the next step in our journey. Are you?