But when you’re standing at a crossroad, there’s a choice you gotta make.

Thanks to a Carrie Underwood song, I was able to capture the emotions I have been feeling lately – that torn feeling you often feel when there is a fork in the road, and lately, for me, the road I must take is the road less traveled. A road that goes against the grain of popular thought. The road that has more bumps and holes, more muddy waters and uplifted roots. The rode less trodden.

In the words of the great American poet, Robert Frost (1874 – 1963),

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

When did you last take the road less traveled?

These are the less beaten paths I have recently traveled – and thus why I have been so deep in thought.

  • Perhaps as many Americans would call it “’tis the seasons” meaning the holidays are rolling in, kick-started with Halloween. Last year, I partially participated even though I was fairly certain I was on the path of converting to Islam. This year, I know I am converting when the time is right but haven’t yet. So now when people ask me if I am doing anything for Halloween, I give a minimal answer – because unlike the rest of the American population, Muslims do not celebrate Halloween. A much different path than I have always taken. Parts of me wants to partake in it: see my nephew celebrate Halloween, as an excuse to hang out with friends who do celebrate it, wear the orange and black colors. But a huge part of me wishes I had my support network to live and work with on a daily basis. You know the ones that don’t go all ga-ga over black cats, broomsticks and candy corn. Or simply there to help me answer my mother’s “questions”.

      Oh how it would be so much easier to take the common road. The easy road – to celebrate holidays I don’t believe in. To conform to society to please family and friends. To avoid awkward conversations. But deep down I know it is not the truth and so I must take the road less traveled.

    • So I choose the nonprofit sector to work in. The most common response when talking to people who do not work in the sector is an artificial consoling nod with the phrase somewhere along the lines, “Wow, you are so noble. I wish I could do that.” Anyways, this road less traveled also means that it tends to be a bit more unpredictable and unstable due to funding. No longer than 2 months into a new position, was I informed that because of funding, my hours were going to be reduced by 50% starting January 1 — wait for it, best case scenario. Meaning, if we get ALL of the $$$ we request, then I can work part-time.  I just completed a full-throttle job search — and now it the search goes on. I even have considered some for-profit jobs, for the sake of some stability, but with each send button, my stomach turns because that is NOT who I am. Alas, I took the road less traveled and now I am sunk a 1/4 deep in quicksand. But it is WHO I am. Sigh.
    • Another song that I gravitate towards on this subject is the Rascal Flatts song, “I’m Moving On”. This song has always helped me out when I find myself at a fork in the road. On the one side I see old friends and family jogging by in an incredible quick moment, completely certain which path they are taking but it is not the one that comes natural to me.

      I’ve lived in this place and I know all the faces
      Each one is different but they’re always the same
      They mean me no harm but it’s time that I face it
      They’ll never allow me to change
      But I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong
      I’m movin’ on

      I’m movin’ on
      At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
      And I know there’s no guarantees, but I’m not alone
      There comes a time in everyone’s life
      When all you can see are the years passing by
      And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

      Are there times in your life where you feel torn? Are there paths that you take that are not the “norm” or status quo, but a light guides you there regardless?

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