We all walk this journey in life on our own paths. Some are tame, some are wild and some are pretty ordinary. And sometimes the paths we find ourselves on are not the path we imagined as a child.
When we begin this world as little kids, the whole world is a fascination, something to embrace with a sense of wonder.
As babies we lay on our backs and stare at our hands for hours in wonder. As we grow we start to splash in mud puddles and dig in dirt. Our fingernails our dirty and our smiles are wide.
Then we start to learn right and wrong and a line is drawn. And another line is drawn. And another.
Slowly we start to think there is one path that is right, one path that is good. I call it the “should” path.
On this “should path”, you do what you think you should do. You follow the imaginary rule book. You start checking things off the list.
You go to school. You get good grades. You go to college. You get married. You get a job. You have kids. And somewhere in there you buy a house with a nice backyard.
On the surface the should path makes sense. It seems quite logical.
And often on the should path there are some really incredible views. You fall in love. You get a hug from your child and their smile lights up the room. Your first house is really exciting!
But on a deeper level we start to feel the irony in it, the hypocrisy. Some get a little jaded, others get anxious. After all the should path comes with quite a bit of pressure. Pressure to stay on the same path. Pressure to do the right thing.
But what if the right thing has nothing to do with the should path?
What if doing the right thing means breaking down the invisible rules that seem to be handed out so often?
When my husband was little he was into juggling. Like really into it. He was so good at it that his gym teacher had him (as a second grader) show the entire school is mad skills. My husband loved it. He thought about doing it more but somewhere along the line, the ‘should path’ hit him hard and he never continued.
My husband always tells this story when he hears from his friend in the Cirque de Soleil.
The truth of life is, the should path is just an illusion.
There is no one path that fits everyone.
We say this often, we think we encourage individuality, but in reality most people don’t allow themselves or others to hear or follow a less traveled path.
When my husband and I announced that we were going to take a year off from the should path, to reconnect and travel with our kids most people were excited. Some even changed their own life plans. Some were nervous for us.
But most people thought they could never do it. They saw themselves on the should path. They told us they were envious and jealous, but wished us luck anyway.The truth is, you are the only one who decides which path you take in life. Click To Tweet
Your path might not even be close to ours and that is ok. In fact, that’s great. Your path is your own. Your path is what gets you up in the morning excited to see another day.
For us, that path means breaking all the should molds. It means selling our house. It means being “homeless” for a year as we travel. It means letting our creativity lead us in our days. It means being authentic to who we are.
It’s funny. Someone recently asked me if this whole gap year thing is a midlife crisis. I never thought of it that way. I went home and looked the definition of a mid-life crisis. Nope it didn’t fit.
We aren’t loosing our identity or our confidence, we are gaining it. We are being true to it. For the first time since we were kids, my husband and I are letting loose and following our own paths. And through this journey we hope our kids continue to blossom on their own paths whatever they may be.