The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

road

I have written on The Road Less Traveled before, although from a different perspective.

There have been quite a few “points of no return” in my life and I am really struggling to find one to pinpoint for this prompt.

I guess you could say it was a momentous day when I had the choice at 13 whether I want to go live with my mom or my dad.  My brother was already out the house, my sister opted to go live with my dad and I chose to stay with my mom.

Also you could say that it was a turning point when, at 18 halfway through my matric year, I decided to move to Johannesburg – on my own.

Another big one was in 2011 when I realized that I have died on the inside and, despite the fact that we really do love each other, our marriage can not be saved.  That is a big decision right there; 12 years of marriage is not something to snort at, but sometimes you have to do what is right for you.

A lot happened in my life.  Not all good, but more importantly, not all bad.  I like to think that everything that happened, happened for a reason.  All of those event shaped me into the person I am today.  Through it all I had God’s love and grace over me, and that is what has given me the strength to carry on.

I am not one to sit and ponder about “what could have been”.  Thus the reason why I can’t pinpoint a specific situation for this prompt.

Yesterday is gone, never to be seen again.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  The only thing you are certain of is right now.  Live your life in a way that would make right now the most important, the best moment of your life.  Learn from the past, but don’t hold on to it.  Don’t worry about what could have been, you could never really know the outcome.

You are where you are now, right at this moment, as a result of a lot of circumstance and choices you have made.  Contemplating about what could have been is just torture.  You can not go back and make something “un-happen”.  Regardless of how much you would like to, you can not go back and retract those words or actions.

If you make today count, yesterday and tomorrow loses its power and simply does not matter.

I am alive now, I have this day and for that I am grateful.

When closing doors and burning bridges are the only options

This Paulo Coelho quote really struck home with me today:

Paulo Coelho Doors

 

Each of us have a different stories, unfolding day by day, and no-one could ever really understand all the emotion and dynamics involved in your story, that much I  know.  We always hear that we should never burn bridges, but what happens when you have no choice but to burn the bridge?  What happens when your sanity, the serenity of your soul, depend on closing that door?

Who is the best person then to guide you when faced with the decision to close that door and walk away?  I once heard that for the best relationship advice you should speak to someone who is in a successful relationship, likewise the best person to ask career advice from is someone who are happy in what they do and have the money to show for it.

If faced with a failing career, do you then go to the employment guru, who will no doubt tell you to walk away, find your passion and try your hand at that?

If faced with a failing relationship, do you then go to someone who is madly in love after 40 years of marriage (if you can still find someone like that!), who will no doubt tell you to hang on there and whether the storm?

At what point do you forget about loyalty and the what-if’s and maybe’s?  And what point is it OK to stop thinking about what makes the other party happy and think about yourself, even if they might consider you to be selfish in doing so?

Sometimes we have to burn bridges and close doors that no longer lead anywhere, but how do we know when it is the right thing to do and your actions and merely being obscured by the past?

What’s your Story?!?

I have always believed that everyone has a story to tell. No-one is ever in a bad situation by choice. No-one is ever homeless, unemployed, cheated on, raped, burgled (you name it) by choice. What we do with the situation is what matters.

I once heard the following quote, which is something that I live by: It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, as long as you get up once more. On the other hand, I also know that at some point you feel that you just can’t get up anymore, that there is not a single reason why you should get up and giving up appears to be the easiest thing to do. It is at this point, when you summon the last bit of willpower that you have left to get up , when you make the choice the try once more, that G-d, the Universe, the Higher Self (whatever you want to call it) sends us “co-incidences”. It might be an old friend or a new one, the sight of spring blossoms or a beautiful sunset, a child’s laughter or a pet rubbing up against your leg. I have a lot of stories to tell, as do you. I’ve had a lot of turning points in my life, the last major one a year ago.

Okay, I’m getting side-tracked here! I watched The Soloist with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr for the first time last night. Thank you SABC3 for giving us a great mid-week movie! It really moved me and got me thinking about people’s stories. It’s always interested me, people’s stories. Why they do what they do, why they act and re-act the way they do, why do they say the things they do. What makes them tick. Thus, I have always been a bit “nosy” and don’t hesitate to ask.

That’s how I came to know the car-guard called “Gucci”. Gucci in his tattered jeans, jacket, sunglasses and Gucci cap can be found in the parking area outside a popular fast food restaurant every evening. Come rain or cold or sweltering summer nights, Gucci is always there, always smiling. Every single car that enters the car park is greeted with a smile and “Good evening ma’am / sir, welcome!”. Every single car that leaves is met with a “Thank you for making an excellent choice for your dinner, we appreciate your support”. Whether they greet him or not, whether they even acknowledge his existence or not, it matters none to Gucci. Gucci is there doing his thing and is very grateful for any bit of money that comes his way. I asked around and found out that they do not pay him to be there and I was blown away by his loyalty to this place and its customers. One day I asked Gucci about his story. As the only surviving son of his family, he moved in with his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and had a stroke after his mother passed away. His wife did not like this much and left one day, leaving him to look after his sickly father and his 3 sons (aged 4 – 16). This off course had a toll on him as it became increasingly difficult to juggle a job, kids in school and at home. He is a qualified Fitter & Turner and his employer became unhappy with him turning up late for work. Understandably so, but where is the human factor to stop and listen. I think we’ve lost the ability to really listen to what someone has to say and we as a human race are so self-involved and concerned with our own happiness that we don’t know how to listen anymore. He lost his job and have been struggling for 2 years to find something again. All the while, his children can’t go to school, his father is constantly disappearing and his two eldest sons are getting involved with the wrong crowd and petty crime is the natural order of business for them. And Gucci? Gucci keeps smiling, knowing deep down somewhere that things will get better and that he is fortunate to be alive and well! Speaking to him was such a humbling experience. I gave him my very treasured copy of “The Secret”. He cried. I cried. Two weeks later I went past there again to see how he’s doing and noticed a new guard. I asked about Gucci. Turns out he got a job. I hope to see him again one day. I hope his story has a happy ending.

There are loads of other stories I could put here. Point is, everyone has a story to tell. Anyone can make a difference.

What is your story? What can you do to make a difference in the outcome of someone else’s story? How will you story end?