The Path of Least Resistance

Sometimes I wonder if we do have a destiny or a purpose. Suppose there's something you're meant to do, or meant to be. Assume that in this mythical world where everyone is born to have a purpose (or at least some people are born to have a purpose and you're one of those people) free will still exists. What if you ignore your purpose and do your own thing, or talk yourself out of doing what you really think you're meant to do. Would life be harder? Would life flow more smoothly and things more often go your way if you do what you're destined to?

Sometimes I think I was destined to write. I don't know whether it's supposed to be fiction, non-fiction, or just crazy rambling thoughts like these. Let's assume it's supposed to be in story form, and let me tell you my tale.

Once upon a time, a bastard was born. There's a chance this bastard was meant to write. He had a story published in the newspaper as a child about taking a picture of Santa or something similarly mundane. In the fourth grade he was assigned to write a story and came back with ten pages worth.

His mother took him to live in Hawaii when he was 9, and during that time he entered some sort of writing contest and got 3rd place for an essay he felt ambivalent about then and can't even remember now. Also when in Hawaii he had the opportunity to meet Madeleine L'Engle, though he didn't even bother to read 'A Wrinkle in Time' until afterward.

In high school he wrote a few poems, some of which he still remembers, and a short story about a date rape that he was terribly proud of. He tried to resubmit the story in a creative writing class the next term, but the teacher found the subject matter terribly inappropriate and instructed him to write a new story. Bitter, he wrote a story about smurf-like characters called Karakters or something similar. He was disgusted with story, but the teacher loved it and life went on.

At another point in the creative writing class, possibly before, possibly after, he was assigned to read the poem 'The Road not Taken' by Robert Frost, and then write a poem inspired by it (here's where the story gets creepy). He used an identical setting, a fork in the road, but instead of taking the road less traveled the author of the poem didn't take either road. He sat down next to a tree at the fork and made the tree his friend. At the time, several of the boy's friends were joining the military, and the majority of his peers were lining up their college careers. When writing the poem the road less traveled represented the military, and the worn path was off to college after high school. Both roads led to the same place, the top of a hill, but the author just sat by his friend the tree.

Eventually either the tree spoke to him and told him to get a move on, or he decided too on his own. He struggled up the hill trying to reach the top where his friends and peers had already gone, but because he was so far behind he took no path and went the brush and brambles.

As the boy became a man, his life very much resembled the figurative happenings of the poem. He did not join the military and did not go straight to college. He valued his friendships more than his future and thought this was a great investment until life happened. Marriages, children, careers, and all the standard fare came for his friends and peers who had continued on one of the paths. He however, lingered and languished parked beside a tree.

Eventually he tried the college route, but stumbled along the way, perhaps because he was trying to make his own short cut. He fell into a doomed career for a while, and when that came crashing down he started up the hill again.

One day, he found himself wondering if he'd ever make it up the hill. He began searching for the next shrub to grab that he might pull himself a little higher. As he struggled, he began to wonder if the climb would go smoother if we was doing what he might have been born to do.