Where there is a path it is someone else’s way. ~Joseph Campbell
We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real? ~Ray Bradbury
Like most of us I guess, I have followed a lot of worn and recommended paths, made fairly safe choices, and rested in the familiar throughout my life. In recent years, though, I have been bothered by the question concerning what my authentic path is. What is it that’s right for me, that allows me to contribute creatively to the world in a way that no one else can?
It is this exploration that is to be the excitement of my old age, I think. There’s nothing inherently wrong with worn paths, and I have learned a great deal by following them. They save us a lot of time and energy in a way. But I feel the urge now to blaze my own trail, to better understand my gifts and how to share them.
I don’t think this necessarily requires a dramatic change in what I do and how I live; it is more an internal shift in perspective. I expect only gradual changes in the ways I engage in the world, the activities I choose, the invitations I accept or decline, the work I do in retirement, and so on. (But who knows, really?)
And this is not just about creative self-expression (no–I promise–it’s not all about me!), but about generativity. As someone who did not raise children, I want to help future generations in the only way I believe I can–by living my authentic life, by sharing what is uniquely mine to give.
What is your authentic path, your unique contribution to the world? Are you bothered by the question?