There comes a point in life when you stand dead center at a crossroads, either faced with a career, relationship or personal decision. Standing still for a moment allows you to reflect and revisit the journey it took to get there. Intriguingly, staring at the two paths, you can't help but wonder "What if I took the unlit path? The path with unfamiliar faces, new sounds and questionable new surroundings is tempting but I won't be comfortable there?" The sun-kissed path lined with daisies, flowing willow trees and dainty butterflies is always the obvious choice but in all honesty how long can you walk on someone else's territory without getting caught?
Considering that thought, think of this: If Columbus didn't sail, we would simply praise the next explorer who did? However small or large the scale of discovery, someone had to set out off the beaten path to discover a new opportunity. Fearless attitudes are developed young and modified as they are exposed to life. A child on a playground will quickly run, explore and discover helping gain self confidence much more quickly than a senior who has lived a full life and is familiar with consequence. As a teen that was diagnosed with cancer and told I could not do many things, I started to test the water before jumping into new ventures. I would ease my way into new surroundings and generously spend my time weighing my options when an offer was on the table. I learned quickly not to trust and lost sight of the potential I had inside myself.
Fast forward past self discovery and motivating influences, I recently experienced a break though forcing me to reflect on what I have achieved in less than a year. How I set examples, influenced people, directed attention and most of all gave back to those who lost hope. I am approaching a new crossroad rapidly; I obviously knew this was bound to happen. I had been walking along someone else's trail long enough to know that I did not belong there. I did not pave the way, I just followed it. I did not plant opportunities, I just accepted them. I did not harvest crops to profit; I earned my share. I always settled for someone else's path because I thought it was safer and I did not have the strength, knowledge or support to walk down my own. Reality is... it's crowded on someone else's path and I want my own.
As I approach this new crossroads, I stand tall, educated, hungry and determined. I am prepared and excited to set off on a quest of unfamiliar sights and people. I have been warned and trained to fight battles and embark into new territories where I won't be welcomed. Today I take the first step off the concrete pavement and onto the dirt road. There will be no footsteps to follow, just those of my own. I am creating a new road for those looking to Give Back. I am fearless. The mistake was thinking I had to set out alone in order to make change. But when the crossroad presented itself it did not say "Admit one" instead it was a double arrowed sign allowing travelers to choose. I chose to wait and present my plan to those on their path. I formed an army of enthusiastic strangers who surprisingly had the tools to make this a success. Together we set off each with a different skill set that will help lay a concrete foundation, plant the seeds to opportunity and accomplish what we are capable of on our own terms.
We are the change that will light this path.