The First Step
Normality is a paved road: its comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it
~ Vincent van Gogh
Every journey begins with a first step. In fact, the road you're traveling down right now, be it a journey towards a destination you don't know, don't like, or feel you wouldn't have chosen for yourself; down a road you just discovered, have trodden before, or one so familiar it feels you surely have always walked it; regardless of the path you are on and every subsequent step you chose to take down it all began with a single step, and that first choice to take it.
That first step was down a path that led you to right here, to right now. In this moment, you look upon a signpost gently reminding you, just up ahead lies a fork in the road, and offshoot from your current path. Soon you will reach it. When you come to it you must make a choice, you must decide which way you will go.
The road less traveled isn't as well groomed and well defined as the path you are currently on. People rarely begin traveling down that path so the entry to it may be covered with moss and rocks, dust, dirt, thorns, briers, and more. But if you squint really hard, look through the boulders and brambles that barricade its entry, you may notice something more: a bright light at the end of what appears to be a long and possibly dark or maybe winding tunnel. As you stare into that light you realize, for all its frightful first impressions, there is a promise to that path, a brightness and lightness at the end of one's journey there that seems far more glimmering and shimmering that the dull grey or even black you see before you on your present path. But you intuit dangers along that path too. The terrain isn't as well-worn, few if any will go down that road with you, and the ways and hows to get to where you are going are less defined, less familiar there too.
As you look around, listen closely, and notice all the sights, sounds, and wonders emanating from and illuminating that little-known path before you, you see, hear, and feel the Echo: the innumerable exhortations of those further down that path calling out to you; the memories and discoveries they've forged on their roads less traveled; the trials, tribulations, glories, and splendors they've found and faced; the pieces of life's puzzles they've been gifted along the way. Here, at the cleft of this fork you will also find the empty, yet familiar, sights, sounds, and sensations of those who failed to change their path. Both suggest a direction you must go. You can't stay here. The paths command you to decide.
So now is the moment of truth. You may have spent years walking down your current path. The rhythm, rhyme, and reason of each step feeling well-measured, stable, familiar. But down the road-less-traveled is something familiar too, something powerful, something liberating and exciting. Something that beckons you, calls you. It is a path to someplace you feel you at one time knew but somehow have forgotten. It feels like freedom to say its name: Destiny. Each path calls to you now. You cannot stay here. You must walk, you must, in this very moment, take your next step. No one else can choose or take your next step for you. It is yours and your alone to take. The moment of choice is now.
An adventure down an unknown road may lead someone to gold, but a gentle walk down a well-traveled and familiar path leads surely to the grave.