In my last post I added an excerpt from “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath, if you missed it, here it is again.
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
When I first read this passage it struck me because it was like she was in my brain. I often find myself struggling to choose a path and instead find myself frozen in my indecision; not being able to choose any path and remaining immobile instead. Each choice requires me to dedicate myself to it so that I can be a success, but by dedicating myself to one occupation I am turning my back on the others. What if I choose wrong? Life should be like an ice cream parlor, you should be able to sample different choices before making a final decision. Be able to travel on one path for a while and if it isn’t what you want, hit rewind and go back and take a different path. I also have a theory that no matter what path we take we will always end up where we were meant to. It may not be a place that you had imagined but it was always the place you were headed. I think if I try and remember that it may take some of the pressure off. I find a lot of people do careers that they wouldn’t have necessarily chosen but they do it because they think they should. Once they retire that is when they start living the life they want. They travel, paint, write, whatever their passion is. I find this sad. Why should I wait until I am in my 60s or 70s to start living life they way I want? There are people out there that have made a success of themselves by following their passion so why can’t I be one of those people? I just need to figure out what my passion is, narrow it down a bit, and I will be ready to go. I feel following ones passion is easier once you have established what exactly your passion is…I’ll work on that and keep you up to date.