When Dorothy comes to a fork in the yellow brick road her ruby slippers come to a screeching halt. She is startled that her mantra; follow the yellow brick road, is no longer enough to get her to where she wants to be. She considers advice from a man of much straw but no brain and eventually just chooses a path. The journey is then fraught with scary trees, flying monkeys and opiates. Maybe she’d have had a more pleasant journey if she had taken one of the rejected paths. But would arriving in the Emerald City and then back home had been less extraordinary if it hadn’t been such a challenging journey?
Most of us do not get sucked into tornados or land a house on a witch (resulting in the gifting of one fabulous pair of shoes) and then find ourselves in an alternate universe. But we do (hopefully) journey through life in pursuit of our heart’s desire. And we do at times find ourselves not recognizing our own universe. There are junctures in life that find us struggling to find our way. When we get to that fork in the road how do we choose which way to go?
The two most common forks that we seem to approach are those on the road to romance and those in the path of career.
Romance can be wonderful but it also is quite disorienting. It is easy to get caught up in something and sometimes that may involve wishful thinking. A good rule of thumb to determine whether you are in a romantic relationship or having a physical relationship is this: are you excited/relieved when he/she contacts you or are you happy to hear from them? Excited/relieved means you aren’t entirely sure where you stand with the person (aka physical relationship.) Happy to hear from someone means you’re a smitten kitten.
So when the smitten kitten finds him/herself wondering if “This Is It?” how do they know? If you are really struggling with the question the answer is probably; no, this is not it. But if instead you are just trying to be your best adult self and putting serious thought into a lifetime decision, ask yourself these two questions:
- Am I the very best version of myself when I am with him/her?
- Is this the person I can’t live without (versus the person I can live with)?
If you’ve answered yes to both it may be time to get yourself to the chapel.
Then there is the more “eating one’s vegetables” life issue; career. If we are fortunate we have income earning choices in our life. Whether because of education and/or talent we may have some flexibility in how we earn a living. When we find ourselves at a juncture, perhaps brought on by boredom, lay-off or age we can feel a bit paralyzed. How do you know when it’s time to move on?
- If you find yourself with a pit in your stomach on Sunday thinking of the week ahead, it’s time.
- If your feelings about your work are having a negative impact on your life and the people around you, it’s time.
Yes it can be frightening to start something new. It can be almost paralyzing to realize you can be practically anything you want to be. That is the downside of free will. Keep in mind that it’s really just about putting one foot in front of the other. It is the journey that makes our lives worth living not the destination. Yes, there may be a flying monkey or two along the way. But just make sure you’ve got a few good friends by your side and perhaps a little dog too.