Sometimes you know that you’re at a crossroads. Countless movies and books have been dedicated to the trials and tribulations of a heroine on the precipice of a life defining decision*
Obvious big crossroads:
You can easily see how these decisions will send you on one road or another:
- Do I want to move far away for my career/university/love?
- Is it time for kids?
- Bangs or no bangs?
The great thing about an obvious crossroads is that there’s a decision that must be made in order to move the plot (aka life) forward. But not all crossroads are obvious. Often crossroads come up and we don’t even notice them, or realize that we are making decisions that will have a lasting impact. It’s difficult to keep in mind that the decisions we make every single day without too much thought are in fact taking us down a particular road.
Think of the following:
- Humouring a colleague or a family member’s bitching and complaining until one day you realize that you are just as invested in the bitching and complaining
- Choosing to not prioritize your next career shift and staying in a job that you are enjoying less and less until you realize that it’s gotten to the point where every Sunday night you get that full body dread of going back
- Regularly succumbing to the all-hours demands of a job at the expense of spending time with your family
- Continuously putting off playing the guitar… and one day you realize that you have not written a song in 10 years
The problem with these “little” decisions in a day is that it’s way too easy to under-estimate their importance in the grand scheme of things.
When I Accidentally Took the No-Music Road
Take the guitar example, because I didn’t make that one up. It may not feel like a big deal to flop on the couch after an un-inspiring day at work when you had meant to work on that song, but how many times will you not follow through on that intention until it has become a habit to not play? And will you even realize that this new couch habit is in fact a decision to NOT prioritize music that will lead to abandoning it completely? I didn’t. And I barely picked up my guitar for over 10 years. In the back of my mind I always felt kind of unsatisfied and sad because I didn’t want to stop writing and playing, it’s just that I let it happen and now it was harder to go back. In fact I didn’t even fully enjoy going to live music because it reminded me of how far away that world felt.
Long story short… Ten years after accidentally abandoning my guitar I went to a show that inspired me so much that I made a commitment to myself on the spot that I would write two songs in the next three months and perform them at an open stage… and then get a gig six months later for a short set. Which I did. And nine years later I can clearly see how the night I made that commitment to myself was a crossroads where I decided to go off-roading**, and every time since that I have picked up the guitar when I’m tired or uninspired, has led to so many of my greatest moments, and proudest achievements. Nine years ago I NEVER would have believed that I would be fronting a band with regular shows in Kensington Market, or that “real” musicians would come join my band onstage for some fun songs.
Stating the Obvious
So here’s the thing: You are always at a crossroads because every day you have the ability to change where you are going. Even if it means off-roading.
*Including the 2002 cult classic movie Crossroads starring Britney Spears
**Often more fun than choosing the obvious road, just be ready for a little bit of mud and extra unpredictability