I’ve been standing at a life crossroads for some time now.
Money was, at first, the excuse for standing still. Moving forward, left, or right was less literal and meant setting up a savings plan and putting away as much of my paychecks as I could without feeling like a pauper. After a few years of doing that, it isn’t the viable excuse it once was. I did well with that.
Yet, here I am, standing at the intersection, watching the light change. Walk. Don’t walk. Walk. Don’t walk. I don’t walk.
Now it’s Fear holding me here, along with Worry and Indecision. I’m afraid of where any of my currently available turns could take me, because those roads are all curved and I can’t see around the bend. I am having trouble deciding where I want to go from here, and I worry I will take the wrong turn, not the right one.
All I know for sure is that I don’t want to continue the rest of my life on the same road I’m on.
The thing is, as a wise friend recently pointed out, not making a decision is still making a decision. Not making a decision is making a decision by default, and that default decision is to continue to stand, frozen, at the crossroads. That default decision is to do no moving at all, forward, backwards, or sideways.
Two Saturdays ago, this uncharacteristically harsh Winter gave way to warmth and sunshine, and I took advantage. Walking around, camera in hand or around my neck just in case something catches my interest that I want to remember, soothes me. I drove into our tiny downtown, parked, hung my big girl camera around my neck, and wandered aimlessly.
The wind whipped as I was about to turn from South Third Street onto East Central, and the sign in the above picture started swinging wildly and creaking. It caught my eye. When it stilled, I took a picture.
No right turn.
It got me thinking, and I’ve been thinking about it now and then, in spare moments, since I pressed the shutter button.
In my situation, when I can, theoretically, go anywhere and do anything— being single and in possession of an adequate nest egg and a handful of raw talents–is there any such thing as an inherently “right” turn?
Any turn I take will take me somewhere that isn’t here, standing at the intersection. Any road I take is equally likely to hold lessons, big and small, disguised as speed bumps and potholes. If one turns out to be impassable, due to a mudslide, let’s say, there’s always the option of turning around and taking another. I could get rocks in my shoes, but I can take my shoes off and dump them out. Each road will teach me something about myself, about the world, about other people. Each holds the possibility for happiness and the full spectrum of other life experiences. It is possible that, in my situation, there is no such thing as an inherently right turn or inherently wrong turn.
Does this mean I’m making a turn tomorrow? No. But I am a little bit less afraid of making one, which is the first step.
The next step is to learn to trust myself to make the choice, and to trust that I can handle whatever that choice brings. (Trust is my word of the year this year for a reason.) Ah, the next big hurdle. More to come on that later in the week…