Monday, March 12, 2012
The Path Not Taken, A Fairy Tale
Once Upon a Time....
There was a boy who loved to write stories and who loved color. A lot.
But a path was chosen when the fork in the road loomed large. A life of color or a life with the pen? The choice would have dramatic consequences.
The Path of Glamorous Color....
When a psychic told him he could have great success and fame as a marvelously innovative interior designer, the boy chose color in a world of dullness, and bravely moved his life far from those who didn't understand. He escaped the captivity of the dull and tired minds of a sheltered town. He went to an arts college and then on to an interior design school, where he flourished and his natural aptitude and understanding of color transformed his life.
Like so many other gay youths, he fell in amongst the usual crowd of this profession and community, and his life couldn't help but take on all the trappings... night life, casual sex and drugs, gay community events, youth-worship, value distortion, hyper-criticalness, weight-and-body obsession, taking pills to stay skinny, going from lover to lover, plastic surgery, broken relationship after relationship, and repeating all the same patterns his community enforced. The grass is always greener in someone else's yard... was the silent mantra that none of them said aloud, but all of them carved deeply into stone.
There were many tragedies and losses, and aids loomed large in the 80's and 90's, taking and ravaging lives. But the boy somehow survived the gauntlet in a community of perpetual Peter Pans who never really grow up. He made lots of money, and eventually settled down with a man he was pretty sure he loved, in a large city, and his business and reputation thrived and grew. National attention, his own line of products, books, television. He had it all. He eventually had an affair --or was it his husband who had the affair? -- but these are not shocking details, because all of his friends had taken this same path.
His life and his career survived all the tumultuous ups and downs and through it all, he continued to look for something deeper, something elusive. He went from bandwagon to bandwagon, and person to person, and his money and reputation took him to many fascinating and interesting places and events and his life was one amongst a throng of carbon-copies all repeating each other's choices.
Sadly, we don't know how his story ended...
Because I took the other path.
I didn't pursue interior design.
I didn't take drugs.
I didn't move to a big city when I was young.
I avoided the gay community and all its traps.
I avoided envy. I avoided competition.
I avoided avarice and gross ambition.
I chose to read and pursue my love of writing.
I studied philosophy and alternative spirituality.
I met another unique boy, not unlike myself.
And we have been together since the first day we met in college.
Against all odds? No. In spite of the values prescribed to us.
We both avoided all the snares and false-gold
that the gay community perpetuates for the youthfully unaware.
We worked at average jobs and I helped my "partner" go for his love of art, and we eked out a living as best we could after college, while he pursued his dream.
Often, I chose to help others instead of the path of ambition.
My whole life long, others have always remarked and complimented me on what a gift I have with color, and how talented I am with decorating and design. I dabbled in the design and color-consultation for a while, made some money, but something told me it just wasn't my path, and I found my way back to writing.Back to my center.
I chose the other path.
The path where I found maturity and balance.
Oddly enough, the path has taken me all over the world with my husband of now 25 years, and to some extraordinary opportunities and events, and we've found genuinely kind and beloved friends. And finally a home and city we where we belong. Our lives have a sense of peace and serenity. My only ambition is that it will last for another forty or fifty years. :) Is that possible? Anything is possible.
Am I saying I couldn't have had it with that other path?
I'm saying... I know myself... and I know that community... and it's doubtful.
Those who manage... are truly admirable and remarkable.
But mostly... I'm saying... I'm so profoundly grateful for the path I chose.So sincerely happy with my life. No envy. No regrets.
Why I wrote this:
When I looked back at the choices I could have made, I realized I took the less glamorous, less flashy path. And that I was happy I chose what I did. I've been exposed briefly here and there, thanks to my husband's career, to what that glamorous path entails, and "all that glitters is not gold."
I think my happiness has come from loving where I am, when I am, and from not letting regret, envy and gross ambition poison the well of contentment. I'm writing this for that reader out there who realizes they can let go of regrets for paths not taken, and know they are where they need to be. And that not only is it enough, it was the right choice.
posted by Shephard @
1:42 PM |
1:42 PM |