The Fork In The Road
It’s New Years Eve. Our annual arrival at the precipice of possible change. The eve of the new year is ripe with anticipation and hope. We’ve put off making the important decisions, making the important changes until the anticipation of a new journey’s beginning has ballooned into an aneurysm of hope and expectation, ready to burst open on January 1st, pumping new blood into those parts of ourselves, our lives, that have become stale and tainted.
I love the New Year in the same way I love mornings, Mondays, seasons and solstices, the downbeat of a measure, and the first of every month. Each of these arrivals serve as an ictus of a new beginning, the moment of our existential Mulligan – and we are convinced that this time we will do things differently, this time we will follow through on our commitment to change. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about life is our ability to redirect. We can’t trade in the life we are living for a new one, we can only treat it as a ‘fixer upper’, making small improvements as we go. Life’s confounding and incessant tide can become overwhelming in its inexorable forward movement. So the New Year, like the new dawn, is our chance to stand back, take stock, and dig a new riverbed for life’s flux.
We can never know if the choices we will make tomorrow are the ‘right’ ones because there is no such thing as right or wrong in life. There are simply choices and consequences. Terms like ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ are fabrications, adjectives we use to try to make sense of our decisions – to provide meaning. Since the future is unknowable, aren’t all decisions the right decision? At that moment where we stand in indecision, our path becomes like a strand of hair that has frizzed. We are faced with a fork of infinite choices. The one that ‘feels’ right is the one we take, and all too often it becomes the one we take for granted. This gift of choice, these forks, represent our freedom to begin again, to keep trying until we think we’ve got it right. This is perhaps life’s greatest gift to us.
When you wake up tomorrow, embrace the knowledge that there are no wrong decisions. Every path before you is potent in its ability to provide swashbuckling adventure and fraught with dark and beautiful lessons. When you see this, that every decision has the possibility of being the ‘right’ decision, that after the first step it is up to us to define it, our fear of making the ‘wrong’ one falls away and we gladly step out.
This New Years Day, when you come to that fork in the road, take it.