Tonight my family and I went out to get Chinese for dinner. After dinner we all opened and shared our fortunes with one another. They made us smile and chuckle and tease one another, but with my family these are pretty common occurrences anyway. Reading my fortune (“Every good friend was once a stranger.”) and hearing my parents delight in “how perfect it is for me right now” reminded me that life has a funny way of steering us back to the paths we need to follow and encouraging us when we’re feeling helpless and a little lost. I recently read a post about “desire paths,” and the idea fascinated me. The post I read talked about education and creating connected, digital classrooms, but my own musings focused on the broader interpretation – the idea that we can go through this life living the life others tell us to lead or we can simply create our own ways. It’s as easy as stepping off that comfortable, safe, paved pathway – the acceptable pathway, the one on which we’re supposed to stay. We can admire the grass, but we dare not walk through it. The post I read spoke of Walt Disney and his views on desire paths, but I am reminded of a quote by one of my favorite authors:
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
It seems clichéd and simple, but so often we forget how easy it is to become trapped in societal and family standards. Others, who may truly have our best interests at heart, want certain things for us. They believe they know best, that they are looking out for us, but in reality, the constant pressure to remain on the “acceptable” path can be stifling. It can force even the guards on the King’s College lawns to set foot upon the grass, to walk where there is no path. Perhaps the best and the healthiest thing any one of us can do is to break free of that restriction, to finally untie the bonds that hold us where others believe we should be. People may call us crazy at first, but eventually, they may understand. Eventually, they may pave our paths. My path.