Where Are You Going?

Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

There is a quote that I read only once and I can’t remember who said it or exactly how it was said, but here’s the gist:  If you are facing in the right direction, all you have to do is start walking.

The summer I graduated from college, I was sitting on the beach with my boyfriend, who had also just graduated.  He asked me a question that will forever sit in my mind.  I had never asked myself or anyone else that question before.  He asked me what my Five Year Plan was.  When I was 21 years old, five years down the road seemed like an eternity and I really had no concern at all for it.  But I pondered the question and came up with an answer.  It was simple and generic, and thinking back, it really wasn’t even true.

Over the next two years, I asked myself that question lots of times.  I never did come up with a true, honest answer.  I was very responsible and took any job or relationship I had very seriously, but I still didn’t know where I wanted to go.  It was when life decided to throw me an enormous curve ball that I understood what I had wanted.  I told myself that I wanted to own my own dance studio, that I wanted to get my masters in dance, that I wanted to own my own house and decorate it beautifully, that I wanted to do fun things with good friends and see as much of the world as I could.  But when I lost the most important thing to me, I realized that all I really wanted over the next 5 to 85 years was to be able to give someone all the love that lived inside of me.

The worst feeling in the entire world that I have felt so far is having love inside of me that no longer has a place to land.

My boyfriend from that summer didn’t live five more years, but if he had, I know he would have achieved everything he had in his sights.  He was just that way.  It felt strange that I was the one left here…the one with no direction or conviction about my future.  The one who was just wandering around this world trying to figure out what I could contribute and how.  He knew without a doubt which direction he was facing and he was walking it without fear.

I’ve spent the last 16 years making lots of U turns and detours.  The mistakes I’ve made are numerous and excruciating to think about sometimes.  I can’t go back and change any of it.  Now all I can do is face the right direction.  I believe I’m standing at the starting line of a wonderful road.  I’m still not clear on all of the specifics, but I do know that I can take my time and try to be gentle and loving to others and myself along the way.  Every step I take in the right direction leads me to the places where I can give my love in good and positive ways to people who will accept it kindly.

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