This picture comes into my head from time to time, I am traveling down a road, it's plain and simple, just dirt lined with trees and overgrown brush. Then a fork appears and down that road I see big billboards with beautiful branding. Promises of better, newer, shinier, healthier and more. I stand there, looking down my dirt road and shift my gaze to the brightly lit road. Which way will I go? These moments happen all the time. A pause before the choice. Which way will I go?
I was standing in my bathroom looking at my homemade skin care products the other day. Unbranded, plain jars with coconut and essential oils. I remember the day I cleared out the beautifully branded jars, with picturesque logos and hashtags to match. I replaced them because from stuff to ingredients I had made a choice to simplify. My homemade products look simple, they are simple (boring?). I closed the mirror and saw my face, freshly washed, no make-up, a few sunspots and a scar or two. It looked simple (boring?). I wondered if I should maybe spend the money and get products that would fix the imperfections. Everyone loves them. They make your skin glow and shine. Then I opened the mirror again and saw the dirt road, the overgrown brush and the green trees. I picked this path for a reason.
Several years ago I was getting ready to move for the second time. The opportunity opened for me to live with another roommate in an old 3 bedroom house, in a beautiful neighborhood. I would have spent considerably less for more space and a roommate. The other option was to keep hunting for a one bedroom apartment I could call my own. I asked my mom what I should do countless times. The choice seemed cloudy to me, on one hand I'd save so much money in a bigger space, on the other hand I wasn't sure I wanted a roommate. She'd ask me over and over, "what does your gut say, what does your gut say?" When I finally decided to live alone she said, "remember the feeling you had when you realized which one you should do, that is your gut, that will tell you what to do." She could not have been more right. Not one year later that girl and I went our separate ways, and I still reflect on living alone as the best years of my life. My gut knew something, my gut was right.
All those times looking down the two roads have given me the same answer, keep going, keep listening to your gut, keep following your path. I wonder if I just settle for familiarity. Settle because it looks less chaotic to continue down the dirt road. I wonder if the choices I've made were because I was too afraid for something different or if I knew myself and what I wanted and needed.
Contentment gets a bad rap. Settling gets a bad rap. Plain gets a bad rap. I'd even venture to say that simple is sometimes considered boring and who wants to be boring? Society sells new, bright, get, have, possess, own, refresh . . . hell - BUY BUY BUY. There are 52 "micro-seasons" per year in the fashion industry, according to Huffington Post. This means there are more trends to buy than most people can keep up with and that's only FASHION. That doesn't include home decor, diet fads, or skincare lines. This is always the fork in my road. To keep up with the Jones's, to follow my friends, or to not.
I believe there are two sides of the coin, there is a time to settle, to be content, and a time to stand up and leave. The decision, the choice, comes from my soul, my gut. What does your gut say it say? It doesn't matter how much money I'll save, how young I could look, or how cool people might think I am. What matters is if I get that feeling, the feeling that says, this is right for YOU.
Like always, I'm standing at the fork in the road with decisions to make. Who will I be? What path will I choose? I'm not sure that there is a right or a wrong choice. Sometimes I start down a path and turn back. Sometimes I realize I am settling so I make a new choice, pick a new path. None of that matters though. What matters is if I listen to my gut. I know it knows the way and it's not to follow but to lead.