Not everyone takes a straight path where they’re going. Many people stand on one trail, gazing longingly across through the foliage to another they can barely see.
And some people turn themselves around, march back, and find the fork. Even if they have to cut through dense brush and risk mosquito bites Even if it means going backward, for a while, to go forward.
Like my friend, Curly von Curls.
A while ago, in what feels like another lifetime, Curly and I were practicing attorneys. That’s how we met, at a job both of us found suffocating, but at the time, we couldn’t pinpoint why. Law chafed us at the edges, made us uneasy, uncomfortable.
What I didn’t know then is there was something else Curly had always wanted to do. Curly is one of those people who, now so far into our friendship, I’m still finding out details, major ones, dropped casually with a “oh, didn’t I tell you?”
So the first time she told me what she wanted to do, it was couched in casualties to make it sound unimportant.
And I believed her.
Until it came up again. And again. And then finally she confessed that it’s really what she’d wanted, from the time she went to graduate school for a profession that was suitable but not desired.
And again, I believed her. But this time, in the right direction.
She entered a program, her two previous degrees flapping behind her, useless, meaningless in her new chosen field. Balancing her family and her school and a part-time job, she dodged poison ivy and falling branches to find that fork.
Her progress wasn’t completely unimpeded. There were times that the familiar, the established road beckoned, sent out creeping vines to try to draw her back.
But she wielded her machete without mercy and fought her way through.
Out of the program, the job market looked bleak; the job market’s been bleak for everyone. She wasn’t always positive or optimistic, but she kept at it.
And today she told me she has a job, on the path she’d wanted all along.
Congratulations, Curly. I never doubted you’d do it, and I hope you inspire others to find their forks, no matter how far back they may be.