A friend and I had a conversation today.
It started as most of them do, checking in, seeing how one another was, a bit of a giggle and some silliness and then it changed direction.
We found ourselves talking about the roads we walk down and how the sensible one, may not always be the best. How the safe option can be just that; safe.
Safe can keep you alive and keep you going but what fulfilment is there in just going with the flow? Making choices that you’re supposed to and that everyone says are the smart ones, the ones that will lead you to success could also lead you to misery.
I consider this friend of mine, one of the smartest people I know.
Yet here he was, lamenting that the sensible choice he made, has brought him to a point where he doesn’t want to be.
How many of us have felt that way?
Everyone, I’m sure, at some point, has felt trapped by the choices that they’ve made. Everyone, at some point, has looked over to a different path which could send them in a completely different direction, one that’s reckless, one that doesn’t necessarily have a soft landing. And we feel a longing.
We want to get off that safe road, heading in that straight-ahead direction.
Because if we don’t do it, we could be stuck in lane forever.
There’s nothing wrong with making careful choices, with cultivating a life which is comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with following a template – as long as we realise its not the only template out there.
I’m realising, increasingly so, that everyone has far more agency over the choices that we make than we’re led to believe. The standard formula of get a job, make money, buy a house, have a family and then work until retirement grants you freedom, isn’t the only way of doing things.
I enjoy my job.
I love my husband.
Things are going well for me, for the most part.
That doesn’t stop me wanting to be adventurous, to be curious, to do stupid things, to want more than what I have, to want to do a U turn and return to the starting point to see how things could have been done differently. To want more is natural.
To want change, is natural because we’re wired to be dissatisfied with what we have and how we live. It’s why we want to earn more, be more, to try and fill that hole.
Its why people make sensible choices – because that’s the right way to live a satisfied life.
And yet, as my friend and I talked, it became increasingly obvious, I think to both of us, that sometimes we shouldn’t be sensible. That sometimes we should follow that detour sign and start a new path. It might lead to ruin, but at least it won’t be dull.
It might just be the best choice that you could make.