Sunday, August 02, 2009

THE CHOSEN PATH

Ever think about the different paths you could have taken in life? The different choices you could have made that may have brought you to a different point than where you are today? Well, I'm a thinker. Sometimes crap just pops into my mind and I sit there for a few moments--or hours--in great ponderance (Yes, ponderance. I'm going to submit that word to Webster, so give it a minute to show up).

If I were to map my crossroads, it would look like a matrix, no doubt. By high school, I knew I loved writing and considered majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications in college. But as I started the process, I realized money would be a problem and I didn't know where to turn at the time. Confused and dazed about the lack of money, I didn't go to college right out of high school. So, I felt forced to choose another path. However, when I look back, I'm actually glad that I was forced to choose something different because I don't think I would have like that choice. I now think loving to write and Journalism are 2 different things. I dislike having to write for a living. I enjoying the creative process and writing what I want. I dislike being in the public eye. I'm naturally shy. And seeing the death of newspapers and the high competition of freelance writing today, I'm glad I chose a different path.



So instead, I worked at a mall pizza store and became Assistant Manager. Had I stayed on that path, maybe I could have made store Manager by now. But I chose a different path. Thank God!



I tried signing up for the Air Force. All was well until they measured me and said that I was an inch too short. Determined to go military, I turned to the Army who was more than happy to sign me up for Infantry. But on the day that I was to leave, they determined that I was a quarter of a pound overweight so I couldn't leave until I lost the quarter pound (which could have been not drinking water for a day). Just so happened that while waiting, the Air Force Recruiter called back and said "well, if the Army can take you, so can we." So he cooked up elaborate schemes for me to tell the Army to get me out so I could sign up for the Air Force, one being that I was pregnant. So I do this, lots of back and forth, interrogation before the Army board of higher ups (Colonel somebody or another) for threats, and they finally let me out. But by that time, I was so discouraged with military that I cut off the Air Force Recruiter. I kinda regret that one. I probably would have been in the Air Force today instead of, or before being, an engineer. But I chose a different path.



So, I finally decided to do whatever it took to go to school: Pell Grants, other grants, loans, and part-time work. But even in that, I changed my major 9 different times--Radiologist, Biologist, Biochemist, Chemistry...--before settling on Chemical Engineering by chance. My last Major was Biochemistry when another ChE student said, "Hey! Why are you doing that? You should look into Chemical Engineering. It's more money." And I said, "Yeah? Cool." And changed my major for the last time. Of course, half-way through the program, I figured out why they made more money as I was getting my ass kicked. Royally. But, I made it through, and here I am today.



One commonality is that I think all of these paths would have led to me writing. But I think that each path would have produced a different story. Whether I would have self-published, gotten an agent, then become traditionally published? A question I will never be able to answer as different circumstances led me to those things today. But one thing that I do believe is that there is opportunity at the end of whatever path we choose. I don't believe there's a right or wrong choice. Even when we've chosen a path that has led to negative experiences, if we turn it around, we now have a platform in which we can share our experiences with others to encourage them to choose a different path. In other words, the glass is always half full. And every cloud has a silver lining. Yeah, all of that.



Have you ever thought about the paths you could have taken and how different your life could have been today?

5 comments:

Max Reddick Sun Aug 02, 10:02:00 AM EDT  

Often I think of that. But everytime I think of an alternate path, I realize that had I taken that path, I would have never learned the lessons I learned. I never would have would have became the person I am today.

After I graduated from high school, I decided to go the military instead of college. I do not know why I made that decision because I had not even considered the military before i decided to go to the recruitment office that day.

However, while I was overseas, crack overtook my neighborhood and most African American communities for that matter. I am convinced had I not been in the military and overseas, based on my mindset at the time, I would have somehow got caught up in this epidemic, as was most of my close friends, and would probably be dead or in jail right now.

So I guess I can sum it up to say, though the path I took may have not been my first choice, it was the right choice for me.

Cherlyn Michaels Sun Aug 02, 10:11:00 AM EDT  

Max,

I see your point. Somehow, I'm believing that there's life lessons down each path, well, if we survive and if we listen and learn. Because yes, there are some paths that can lead to the ultimate destruction, as you've pointed out.

Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts Mon Aug 03, 02:21:00 PM EDT  

Hey, Cherlyn...

I always find myself amazed at how God has positioned me in different places and points in my life. I ask myself, what if I didn't move to Chicago right after undergrad? What if I'd moved to Atlanta like I really wanted to? Or I think about how I ended up in Philly and meeting my husband. It's quite remarkable actually the various paths and options that we have placed before us and how our choices impact our future. I'm like you, though. I think that no matter what path I would have chosen...I would have been led to back to first love...writing. Yeah, the stories, the perspective would have been different but I'd still be doing the thing that I've always been most passionate about...

Great Post!

Tracey Michae'l Lewis
www.traceymlewis.com

ptbertram Mon Aug 03, 05:27:00 PM EDT  

I often think about the different paths one takes. I used to think there was a right one and a wrong one, but now, like you, I think that there are lessons to be learned no matter what path we are on. I also wonder if we end up in the same place no matter what route we take to get there. (Could be a good theme for a book someday.) One of my favorite quotes, though I don't know who said it, is "You are magnificent beings, in the perfect place at the perfect time, unfolding perfectly, never getting it done, and never getting it wrong."

Cherlyn Michaels Tue Aug 04, 08:23:00 PM EDT  

Tracey, yeah. The desire to write has always be instinctive. Something I've never had to think about. It's the one thing I can never run away from. It's always there.

PT now that's a good question. Will we end at the same final point no matter what route we take? If things turn out positive, I would like to think yes. But where a life has had a tragic ending, I hope that there's a chance that if they would have made a different choice, the end result would have been different. The thing is though, with both scenarios, we can never know.