There is a ubiquitous phrase making the circuits. At first, I thought it was quaint. It was endearing when family members uttered it, but now the clerk at the drive-through window echoes the oppressive cliche. “Stay safe,” she says as she hands me my order.
Her words take my breath away, my heart constricts, and I can’t escape her plastic smile fast enough. She sparks an old familiar feeling. Live a safe life, don’t accept risks, color between the lines, conform, follow the rules, remain in your cage, watch your soul wither. Be predictable and boring, march with the crowd, fear the unknown, and strangle the voice inside my head screaming to be set free. There is a reason Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is one of my favorites.
I realized the sentiment is a reaction to the virus, and I prefer everyone limit their chance of contracting, spreading, or suffering from this scourge. I don’t advocate or condone reckless or self-destructive behavior, and I don’t want anyone to suffer. But misery takes many forms, and there are risks associated with not taking a risk. Following the more traveled path leads me into habits created in fear, encourages small thinking, and my growth and individual development stagnate. In life, choosing the safe road will probably result in predictable results. Except our world is changing so quickly that the tried and true now often hold unforeseen pitfalls. We need to enter into our choices with our eyes wide open.
Today I choose the road less taken. Raging storms will greet me, but I have unshakable confidence in my ability to survive them, withstand the gale, and emerge stronger. I am prepared to kindle my inner fire while I face unexpected obstacles and challenges. Mistakes are inevitable, but I am determined to rise above them. At the end of my journey, I hope to discover my life was better than any dream I could have imagined.
What risk are you taking today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer