Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Over the course of the last few years, I made a very big decision to chase happiness, not paper. I left the security and predictability of corporate America, and ventured on my own to discovering my purpose: yoga, writing, and art.
We are all given a choice of how we will lead our lives. However, is the path that everyone else we know right for us? I walked away from a steady paycheck to pursue my dreams. This is something HIGHLY frowned upon with my Asian upbringing. My entire life, I was reminded by extended family about the struggles that my family endured to have the “American Dream.” The only thing that mattered to them was that I was financially successful. It didn’t matter if I was happy or not. Many of my friends have their careers, but most of them truly wished they took the road less traveled to pursue their dreams.
Thankfully, I do have an amazing family that is supportive of my detour in life. Yes, it does make them worry if I can make rent at the end of the day or if I have food in my fridge – but they do understand that I could not live with myself if I continued on a path of unhappiness and regret.
The greatest gift this past birthday came from my sister. It wasn’t tangible, but it meant the world to me when she said, “Elle – I never thought I’d say this… but I’m thankful you are always open minded to trying new things, taking risks I could only dream of doing for myself. There’s nothing you’re afraid of.”
Her saying those words also reminded me of something my father told me growing up:
They say the grass is greener on the other side. The only way to know is to hop the fence.
Many of people will take the beaten path that many have traveled. However, how many of them will regret not taking the road less traveled? Society will encourage you to follow its blueprint of how it believes where you should be, who you are with, and how you should go about doing it. If you are tempted to hop the fence, here are a few words of advice:
1. With great risk, there’s great reward.
Every decision we embark on holds some risk. However, the bigger chances we take will lead us to the bigger payout we can only dream of. Sure, I have no clue how things will work out and how ends will meet at times, however, the reward of my own happiness trumps ANY stress that comes my way.
2. Someone will ALWAYS have an opinion about you chasing your dreams, good or bad.
When you take the road less traveled, there will always be that family member, friend or significant other that has their opinion about what you’re doing. Take into consideration what they say, but at the end of the day, you are responsible for the life that you live and the regrets you have to live with. They will never be in your shoes, make decisions that help you towards your own happiness.
3. Doing something outside of your comfort zone helps you figure out who you really are.
It’s the risks that we take that we come to realize how much we can deal with and what truly is a priority. It wasn’t until I stepped away from my cushy job that I realized money is a very small motivating factor on how I will live my life. It changed my priorities and values. For some, it’s the struggle that makes them realize it plays a bigger role in their life. You truly won’t know until you do it.
4. If things aren’t what you expected, you can always rewind and go back.
Today, take a chance. Do something different. Drive a different path to work.