Standing at a Crossroads

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re at a crossroads in your life? That everything that has happened in your life up until now has been about bringing you to now? That the choices you make at this time in your life will represent a turning point?

I’ve felt it a few times, most recently in December 2015 when prompted to write, so beginning this humble blog. We all face significant events in our lives, some of which will change us in significant ways, while others will pass into our history having made few lasting, discernable changes in us.

Sometimes it’s obvious; signature moments that change our lives in an instant and force us to find a way to accommodate and eventually re-shape our lives around them. Other times our crossroads sneak up on us, our senses detecting what isn’t necessarily obvious in the events that surround us.

That night in December 2015 I felt I was at a significant moment in my life, I didn’t know why and I didn’t know what I needed to change nor how to do it. All I felt was a compulsion to write, accompanied by the sense that that moment in time, that period of my life, mattered.

Of course, every day matters and every day brings countless unknown opportunities. Each day can change our lives forever. At a rational level we know this, but speaking for myself there have only been a few occasions on which I have felt it, sensed it. I felt it when I started writing, and many wonderful opportunities and interactions have arisen as a result of that moment.

Now, again, I feel I’m approaching a crossroads. A crossroads at which I can choose to repeat patterns of thought and behaviour that I increasingly realise do nothing to serve me. Thoughts and behaviours based on a desire to escape from an unwanted tangle of feelings and emotions woven from aggregated losses, an escape that likely would result only in further knots being tied.

Or I can choose a different way. I can confront myself.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve found it difficult at times being alone (yeah, no shit Sherlock). It’s not a hand I’d have ever chosen to play but it’s the hand that I’ve been dealt (and I accept the part that I have played in holding the cards that I do).

And now I feel I have arrived at a crossroads that I need to face on my own. Because when faced with the same difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions a number of different times, maybe the answers aren’t to be found ‘out there’ but ‘in here’. In being alone and facing what makes me uncomfortable and working shit out for myself. Nobody likes loss, rejection and hurt, but where are our feelings and interpretations about these things really coming from? What are they really telling us?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on turning into some kind of hermit; my friends, family and colleagues will still have to put up with me. But maybe it’s about time I sat with some of this crap rather than ran from it and found out why I feel the way I feel, what is really driving the decisions that I make, and whether I am really living in a way that serves my longer-term best interests.

This isn’t some self-lacerating, ‘I’m not worthy’ process and I won’t be donning a hair shirt. I think I’m pretty alright when all’s said and done. But still, I know that I get in my own way, and how I interpret events in my life has to be a big part of that.  It has to change.

We can’t control everything that happens to us but we can exert greater control over how we respond. Sometimes in life things don’t go how we’d have liked them to; no fault, no blame, it’s just the way life is sometimes. And guess what, ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.’  To paraphrase a pretty clever bloke, responding to situations in the same way that you have in the past whilst expecting a different outcome, is madness.

Maybe the Groundhog Day of finding yourself in the same place with the same feelings, is life’s way of trying to teach you a lesson that you need – and have so far refused – to learn about yourself.

Maybe when life feels stuck on repeat it’s because it’s your finger that’s holding the button.

This post is probably the hardest I’ve ever shared. Not the hardest to write, as it represents my truth and as such it pretty much wrote itself (like most of my posts do). But it feels difficult to share. Why is this?

Well, I suppose because it comes from a very raw place and that can leave you feeling very exposed. Then I think of the fighter stepping into the ring and risking his reputation, his sense of himself as a fighter and a man in facing the fists of his opponent. Risking being knocked out, defeated and left lying unconscious and exposed before the world.

But he’s a fighter – that’s his calling, that’s who he is – and that is the risk he faces and exposes himself to every time he steps between the ropes. And if he doesn’t step between those ropes, if he doesn’t choose to accept that risk, he will never become all that he can be.

This is the path I’ve chosen – to write and to lay my journey out there. To document the steps on the path to becoming my highest self, a summit that cannot be reached without facing the difficult moments honestly and being prepared to face and stare down the ego, with its wish to be seen only at its best.

This is my truth and sharing it is a declaration of faith, of stating openly that I will use the lessons in life’s challenges to become a better person without the fear of exposing myself publicly to failure; to challenge those aspects of my self that do not serve my highest good and that root me emotionally in places that I no longer wish to be.

And I share it so that one day my words may help others, when I will be able to look back at this time as a catalyst for living the life that I am supposed to lead and say, ‘If I can do this, you can too.’

“If it’s all in my head there’s nothing to fear
Nothing to fear inside
Through the darkness and the light
Some sun has got to rise”

Soundtrack:
Despair – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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13 thoughts on “Standing at a Crossroads

  1. Oh this one was quite hard to read for me ! I need to do something with my life – big time. I’m stuck in such a rut of self loathing that I can’t get out. I’ve got some good things in the pipeline but I already feel I’ll fail at them. But for me, you and everyone else who struggles, I suppose I’ll throw myself in and see what happens !? What can be worse than where I’m at right now !? Well done for sharing because I know how hard that is. All the best keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece! We all have a story that we tell ourselves about how things are and who we are, but if we take the time to really look at it, we can realize that some of it is a lie. Some of it didn’t even belong to us. A deep dive inside isn’t about recreating ourselves, it’s about recognizing and getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t serve our highest Good, and, by extension, the highest good of all. Some epiphanies are wonderful and some suck, but the outcome feels like the air after a storm, fresh and new. Good luck with your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like I am in a similar place–looking at patterns that keep repeating in my life that seem completely outside of my control–so why does it ALWAYS go the exact same way? Really considering whether or not my thoughts are constructive but at the same time understanding that bottling or denying honest emotional responses is not constructive either. I think it is mainly, as you say, a taking of responsibility and not trying to distract ourselves from what we need to learn in order to grow past our ingrained reactions. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kara, I’m glad it resonates. I’m working at addressing things on the basis of what I can control – myself. That said, it’s not that straightforward; like you say, it’s recognising those ingrained reactions that are actually not doing us much good, and changing them. This takes effort and time and is hard but I believe will ultimately be very worthwhile. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so hard, Matthew, especially when you don’t consciously realize you actually have these ingrained reactions (until you KEEP seeing evidence of them in your life, sigh). Just be patient with yourself, as I am trying to be with myself. It’s a frustrating process (one step forward, two steps back, at least for me) but I have faith that yes, it will be worth it in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s very true. I’ve been helped to join the dots on some things about myself that I hadn’t fully grasped before (and that’s another post that I’ve written and not shared!).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ann, I’m glad you think so. It seems to be striking a chord with a few people! Trust yourself to figure it out in your best interests.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You have helped me more than you know, even before we officially “met,” by being courageous and sharing the difficult, raw stuff. You have guts, my friend, and many who will be there to see you through to the other side of this journey. It is worth it. You are worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

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