When is the last time life presented you with a fork in the road?
If you stop to think about it, you’ve probably been presented with multiple opportunities to choose: do I go this way or that way?
I recently watched a new Netflix movie called Look Both Ways. In short, it follows a girl who takes a pregnancy test on her college graduation night, and then the movie plays out how each path may end up for her – one is the path she takes if she is pregnant, and the other if it turns out she’s not. It’s well done; a balance of light but emotional, the acting is good, and nearly all of us can relate to some aspect of the story.
Anyway, after watching the movie, it got my mind going on life’s forks in the road. I won’t spoil the movie for you…but the ending reminded me that no matter what path you go down in life, you can make the best of it if you work hard and follow your heart. Sure, there may be twists and low points, that’s to be expected.
But if you keep going…that’s where the sweet stuff happens.
I’ve had a lot of my own forks in the road. Two of them that stand out to me are 1) my realization and subsequent decision to divorce my high school sweetheart and 2) my decision to quit my career and be a stay-at-home mom. P.S. if you know me now, don’t worry, Brian is my person…I’m referring to my first marriage.
In this post, I’d like to talk through the first big fork in the road.
I met my first husband when I was fifteen and he was seventeen. He was my first boyfriend, and we ended up marrying when I was twenty-one or twenty-two (it feels like a lifetime ago, and I honestly can’t remember my exact age). He was a good person and getting married seemed like the logical thing to do. It was our next step. But I wasn’t happy. When I reflect on that time in my life, I knew it wasn’t the right decision in my heart, but it felt like what was expected.
Not long after we were married, I found myself at a fork in the road: stay or go?
My decision to end it wasn’t easy…I felt like I had a person that loved me – what if he was the only person who would ever love me? If I gave him away, I worried that would be it for me. Do we only get one person sent our way by the universe? Call it being young and naïve, but it was a real worry of mine. What would my family think? They would surely think I was an idiot for wanting to break up. Telling them was almost harder than the decision itself.
In the end, I told myself the unknown was better than staying in a relationship that I knew wasn’t meant for me – where I knew I wouldn’t be happiest.
And letting that relationship go ended up being the best thing I could have ever done.
It kicked off a journey that led me to Brian – my person. The person I have grown alongside with for the last thirteen years. The person that I refuse to imagine a life without. We push each other to keep going, to keep evolving into our best selves, to keep striving for the things that mean most to us in life, to reach our goals (both individual and family goals), and when we reach our goals, to set new ones.
We stay up talking on weekend nights instead of watching TV, pausing our show over and over because we can’t help it – we like talking to each other. This will sound cheesy, but our love makes everything else in life seem easy. And I truly mean that when I say it.
And all of that started with a fork in the road.
That’s what’s tricky about a fork in the road – you can’t see where it ends. It can be overwhelming and scary. If I had allowed my fear to take over and prevent myself from addressing the fork in the road, I would have never found true happiness.
You can find yourself avoiding making a choice; staying stagnant because it seems less overwhelming than deciding where to go. Perhaps you’re doing that right now in some aspect of your life. It may not be a relationship – is it your career? Or maybe where you want to live?
By staying frozen you are selling yourself short; you are settling because it’s easier than making a choice and moving forward. But I am a firm believer that it doesn’t matter where the path ends.
Because you have the power to create your own best ending.
Pay attention to the forks in the road because those are your opportunites to change your life. Work hard, follow your heart, and keep going.
Always keep going.