Walking the Path

We think about life on different timelines, but they’re all timelines attached to journeys from A to B.

We leave the house in the morning, and we expect to drop our son off at the kindergarten 15 minutes later. We start working on the project roadmap on Tuesday and think we’ll be done on Friday. We don’t know exactly how, but we zone in on a six-figure net worth by age 30. It’s all starting points and destinations, straight lines connecting one goal to the next.

Except life is anything but a straight line, of course. As a no-longer-young man named Siddhartha once mused, finding himself at the same river he crossed many moons before: “Where might my path yet lead me? Foolish it is, this path. It runs in loops, runs perhaps in circles. Let it lead where it may, I shall walk it anyway.”

We don’t expect the project to get scrapped after hundreds of meetings. We can’t see ourselves back where we started after toiling away for nine months. But the path leads people in loops every day. It’s the scene in the movie where the characters are lost in the maze, making the fourth right turn as it dawns on them: “Wait a minute? Haven’t we been here before?”

The longer the detour, the more upsetting it is to arrive at the same crossroads. The question is do you believe there’s a reason you’ve re-arrived? Can you see one? Find one? Create one? For once you’ve come full circle, it matters not that the line wasn’t straight, that the journey didn’t take you where you thought it would. What matters is going on. Finding the will to walk the path anyway, regardless of where it may yet lead. And that requires purpose.

When life leads you in circles, keep the faith. Walking the path is the only true destination, and whatever harbors we don’t reach were never meant to shelter us anyway.