Autumn has always been a time of change, bringing with it a feeling of fleeting beauty and transience. As I settle firmly into adulthood in my thirties, I have often found this pattern of evolving change to be true of life, as well.
Ten years ago, I fully believed that I knew the direction I was headed in life. In hindsight, this was, of course, foolish. As any true wanderer knows, after venturing through the forest for some time, you inevitably spot an alluring new trail, or see a pretty bird, and in the end, your course veers off in a different direction entirely.
Almost everyone is familiar with the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.” The famous passage goes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The poem is a cliché in modern society, and by popular conception, is about choosing the right path in life (though according to scholars, Frost’s true intent ran more along the lines of a clever joke, alluding that “the road not taken” may lead you right back to the same crossroads over and over again, forever trying to make a decision). Regardless of which version is true, I think both could be said of my journey thus far.
Five years ago — and five years after my initial feelings of security about my future — I had been struggling with my “chosen” career. I was miserable, but too stubborn to admit it. After two long, expensive years working toward a postsecondary degree, I felt like I had no choice but to continue on.
Then, life changed, as it always does. I fell in love with my long-time best friend, a soldier, and we moved to Fort Polk, La. In this remote spot, opportunities in my career field didn’t exist so I was forced to look elsewhere. Several painful temporary jobs later, I decided to apply for a writing position at the newspaper on post and got the job.
That position changed everything for me.
Suddenly, I felt at peace. I had always loved to write, but never considered it as a career option because I had always been so focused on other things. More than once, I’ve thought about the fact that I may have never stumbled onto such a path if I had never married my husband or moved to Fort Polk, despite what a curse I had initially believed the move to be.
Nowadays, I’m still writing. Lately, however, my role has been that of a part-time journalist and full-time wife and mom, though I expect that will soon change — just like the turning of the leaves in fall.
I don’t know where this path will eventually take me, but for now, I’m enjoying the fresh air.