For many, once they find themselves on the path they have chosen for their life, this is apropos of how it makes them feel:
“The way is clear / the light is good / I have no fear/ nor no one should.” — Prologue, Into the Woods
But then, what happens when, like an unexpected bolt of lightning from the sky, the path is gone? Not twisted, not blocked, simply gone and no more?
Unfortunately, because life tends to be unpredictable, this can and will happen.
What causes this to happen, and what can you do when it does?
The world goes mad
This is what happens when external matter causes the path you are on to cease to be very suddenly, seemingly out of the blue. A loved one dies, a relationship ends, a job is lost, all your money is lost, an injury changes your capabilities, your house burns down, and so on. You cannot predict that these will happen, they just do.
Now the path you were on is no more. What’s worse, there is no way to get back on it or another related to it. Similar, maybe, but it will still be quite different.
For example, you love your job. What you do is unique. You have every intention of working there until you are ready to retire, and you’ve given it years of your life. Then, without warning, the company shuts down, and everything you have invested in the job is no more. Too young to retire, you have to find a new job.
Anyone looking for jobs today knows that even the relative stability of employment you could find a decade ago is utterly different. Businesses, for the most part, have little to no loyalty to their employees, which they often “contract” in order to avoid having to pay benefits.
Your whole world, the path you loved, is gone.
You have a sudden realization
This is what happens when an internal matter causes the path you are on to cease to be very suddenly, seemingly out of the blue. This is far more subjective, as all of these matters are yours and yours alone. For the most part, this occurs when you realize the chosen path you are on is not for you.
Now the path you were on is no more. What’s more, there is no way to get back on it, or one related to it. Similar, maybe, but it will still be quite different.
For example, you are a scientist studying physics. You are working on a theory that could, if proven, win you the Nobel Prize. Since college, this has been your whole life, your love, everything you have has gone into this. And then…you disprove your own theory. There is no possible way that what you were working on could be. Your research serves no more purpose. You’re too young to retire, so you have to change your focus or utterly change your area of study.
Academia is a fickle mistress, as most of my friends in education tend to relate.
Your whole world, the path you loved, is gone.
This is, of course, the question you have to answer. When matters change suddenly and abruptly they tend to be rife with emotion. When your heart is ripped out of your chest and everything you knew has gone completely sideways, it can feel completely awful.
You may feel lost, hurt, angry, frustrated, disenchanted, distressed, depressed, and all kinds of other negative feelings. Because this situation is borne of the unexpected, you tend to be caught up in a tornado of emotions and feelings as if nothing matters.
The plan was there. The path was clear. And now? What the fuck are you going to do now? Everything has gone to hell, and you just haven’t a clue what’s next.
Without a doubt, for a time you will grieve. This is going to take any number of different forms, in especial because no two people grieve in the same way. This is no different than losing a pet or loved one. Further, your grief in this matter is valid, although many people will press you to cease grieving and move on.
In time, it WILL be necessary to move on. Yet you should express your grief for the loss, let it out so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. That will take whatever form is best for you.
Expressing grief is part of releasing it. If you choose to hold onto it that will allow it to dominate your life and choices therein. Thus it is necessary to let go of it.
Just like removing a bandage, you get to choose to pull it slowly or tear it away fast. Both will hurt, but you can choose if it will be a single painful removal or a lengthy, drawn-out, multiply painful one.
Choosing anew after the unexpected
One of the ways to combat the grief is to make a new choice.
There is always a path to be taken in life. No matter what happens along the way, you can choose to live your life as you most desire to do.
When the unexpected has occurred and the path is gone, though it may look like the end, it is not. Sure, it’s an ending — but the only true ending in any life is death. Not to be too dramatic here, but that’s just the way it is.
If you are drawing breath and living you are still empowered to make decisions and choices for your paths. You can find a new job, start a new relationship, purchase or build a new home, learn something new and take a completely different path.
Do not place blame for your lost path. Whether an external or internal matter caused it to evaporate, blame goes nowhere and wastes time and energy.
You are still worthy and deserving of finding and/or creating the path you desire for your life. The sudden unexpected loss of a pathway is not the result of you being less worthy and deserving (unless your previous path involved intentionally causing harm or hurt in some way to other people.)
You can find or create a new path. That’s your superpower. You are empowered with the ability to be utterly adaptable, but the choice and decisions therein are yours.
I know that this totally and utterly sucks. But I also know you can start anew and potentially grow far, far beyond where you were originally working to go. Grieve, let it go, choose a new path.
What would you do in the event of the sudden and unexpected loss of your chosen life path?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you can find or create a path again.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on October 16, 2019.