Turning off the main road onto your own path is a decision ripe with rewards. Freedom, independence, time, and mobility are just a few of the indescribable ingredients of true wealth. However, with all choices, there is an opportunity cost.
When you accept responsibility for designing your life and begin to diverge from the pavement, it can be difficult to accept what you personally are leaving behind. Your road continues to cut off to the right, further and further from the masses, and one day you realize the loss.
For many of us, it is loss of income. Admittedly, unless you are independently wealthy or your spouse is remaining in the workforce with a good salary, your new path may be paved with dirt for awhile. At some point, you have an opportunity land enticingly in your lap and you struggle to register that you don’t have the ability to act on it, yet.
For some of us, it is loss of social connection. The lack of friendly banter around the water tank or coffee runs with work friends translates in your mind into loneliness, self-doubt, and fear. If you are a social person, your new road can feel depressing. Your mind and lifestyle don’t automatically adjust to the new landscape, one without a dozen cubicles to keep you connected.
For the vast majority, it is loss of structure. You can take off down your new road with all of the gusto and excitement in the world, only to suddenly feel like you are stuck in the mud. There aren’t any massive signs on the side of your new road to let you know how far you’ve come or how much further to the next exit. Your brain has to rewire to look for a different kind of sign.
Ultimately, embracing a different road requires that you also acknowledge the bumps and push forward with the faith that it will eventually smooth out. The key to pulling out of the ruts is perspective. Blazing a trail is difficult work, but you can’t focus on the road all of the time. Glance up every day and take a good look around. You have a unique view from where you are, a natural horizon teeming with life and opportunity.
Whatever you gave up to escape the smog and sea of tail lights, was it worth it?