Life: The Hard Road in Following Your Dreams
We all come to a particularly perplexing fork in the road at some point in life, though many of us experience it time and time again. This fork in the road of life is a momentary point of pause, which generally offers little in the way of rest, in which we're required to make a decision, asking ourselves the difficult-to-answer question: which path should I take?
This was a particularly prominent question on my mind as I sat nervously with my right hand atop a crystal ball, my left hand pressed characteristically between my thighs. The fortune teller's dark, inset eyes peered into (what seemed to be) the depth of my soul, extracting and revealing personal details before approaching the lingering question.
You're about to undertake two journeys, she explained. One will be for pleasure, the other for business.
I swallowed nervously before she continued on.
You're going to come to a point where you'll have to choose between a hard road and an easy road, she explained, lifting her hand and pointing her forefinger at me rigidly. But don't take the easy road. The easy road will be three times harder.
This really slapped me awake, and got me thinking as I made my way back downtown from the bustling and eclectic neighbourhood of Vancouver's eastside where the psychic posted shop. I meandered my way between people of extremely diverse walks of life, observing the neatly dressed Jehovah's Witnesses handing out flyers to passersby, the business men on their way to meetings, the homeless man pushing his buggy of belongings and intermittently pausing to ask for spare change.
You see, in the days prior I'd been having a recurring thought that I couldn't quite shake.
Upon saying farewell to a period abroad in which I did nothing but pursue my own heart's desires, I found myself back home with a decision to make. What the psychic didn't realize was that I was already here, at the fork, peering with apprehension down each path to try and decipher which was truly the best.
And it was at this point that I began having a thought, seemingly forgetting my prior experiences with the opposite, which really got me down and broke my spirits.
It's so much easier not to try.
It's so much easier to ignore a passion or goal and just go with whatever life brings you instead of working hard to manifest something that feels right. It would be so easy for me to settle back into my old surroundings, get myself a solid and reliable 9 to 5, and just live with a manageable amount of monotony while intermittently enjoying my passion. It would be so easy.
You see, people assume that having a passion, a dream, and even a talent is something to be envied. They believe it's something that makes life easier, when it actuality, it has the tendency to make life more difficult, especially in the early stages. It requires additional effort, authenticity, practice, faith, and strength to obtain a similar level of fulfilment, which seems to be especially true when the passion is connected to a creative art form or craft.
Chasing a passion of one's heart is like pursuing the admiration of an unrequited lover. It requires a vulnerability that's painful. It's a road that's so littered with challenges of character, offering easy exits after each of its frequent discouragements. It's so mysterious and mystical, always slightly out of reach, causing bursts of excitement with any response while never failing to retreat from the impending danger of rejection. The fear of such places the pursuer in a constant state of worry, while the pursuit itself remains futile without complete devotion and transparency of the pursuer's passion.
Though I don't know what the hard road offers in the end, since I've only been on it for little over a year, I find myself in need of a serious reminder. You see, I have experienced the easy road, too.
And the psychic was right: the easy road wasn't easy at all.
The easy road. The easy road is generally a choice or decision that is simple to make in life. Whether stumbled upon or deducted logically from a set of circumstances, the easy road has clear guidelines for achievement and offers stability and certainty. The easy road will support a life: a home, a family, and perhaps an annual vacation.
The easy road, however, has another side that is often not anticipated. The easy road rarely encourages freedom, creativity, or passion. It creates a life of extremely limited possibilities with very little flexibility for growth, and tends to dispel any sense of individuality.
The easy road didn't work for me because it required me to forget my passion, my dreams, and my ultimate identity for the mere purpose of living. The strange thing was, without following my heart and expressing myself creatively, I didn't feel like I was living at all. At very least, I felt like I was living someone else's life. I woke in the morning with sadness and emptiness. Each action I took on this "easy" road felt like lifting weights way too heavy for my arms. And each and everyday as I undertook tasks I resented, I couldn't help but wonder: what's the point?
Knowing the true misery on the easy road, it's important for all of us passionate people to remember that, though the easy road appears to be just that with its smooth terrain and straight path, it will inevitably become more difficult the further we walk down it. As we proceed down the 'easy' road in life, we will encounter outside problems that make it significantly more difficult than the 'hard' road ever would have been to begin with, acting as shackles on our ankles, binding us to both the road itself and the problems it so inherently presents.
There's nothing more regretful, painful, and unfulfilling than ignoring a passion or purpose, and though you'll ultimately be presented with the hard road in following your dreams, we must all always remember a significant truth:
Over time, each becomes the opposite.
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