My little sister is four years younger than me and yesterday was her 27th birthday. My sister and I are very similar in terms of our personality and our features. However, one big difference is the life paths we’ve chosen. Neither is right or wrong – they’re both just very different.
We both started out on the same path, engaged to our high school sweethearts. In my sister’s case she started dating her husband when she was in 8th grade. They were our prom and homecoming dates in high school and who we spent much of our time with. While my sister was in high school she got her CNA license and worked at a nursing home for some high school income. I faint at the sight of blood and worked at a few different places in high school, including the grocery store and an office supply store/RadioShack. My parents had instilled in both of us a strong work ethic, so it was normal that we didn’t play sports or do much for extracurricular activities – just worked.
As our paths continued on we both pursued associate degrees at a local technical college – hers in nursing and mine in computer programming. Neither of us officially graduated and we both decided it wasn’t the right career path for us.
During this time was when our paths split and we both chose different routes, not even realizing it. I decided during this time to end my engagement to my high school sweetheart. She chose to continue her relationship and get married. Her path was more traditional in my hometown and continued on with having two children and a dog with her loving husband. They bought a house and work in my hometown. It’s not to say they don’t have obstacles on their path, but they have persevered onward. She’s settled into her life and for this I’m envious.
The path I chose was less familiar and unpaved. Even in the unfamiliarity of it I was merely exploring, knowing I could turn around at any time and go down the other path. After technical school I moved to Madison and pursued some men along with my bachelor’s degree. I dated a man for 5 years before again feeling unsettled and ended it. I’d become very curious about the world and that curiosity veered me off the path and led me to pursuing my MBA overseas. I traveled to many countries before moving back and assumed my path would continue on as it was before I veered off again. However, I realized I wouldn’t be able to just pick up where I left off and that I was now too far away to turn back to the familiar path. I’d visit my family often, but realized that with everywhere my path had taken me I wouldn’t be able to go back to seeing the same scenery, regardless of how beautiful it was and how much I yearned for it to make me happy.
During this time I was rescued by my Knight In Shining Armor (KISA). He had explored this path and was more familiar with it than I was. He showed me things I’d never noticed before and told me stories of life very different from my own. He was so different he made me yearn for the familiarity again, fearful people on this path would know I was lost and didn’t belong.
He convinced me to veer off the path again to go down another that he knew of, but we were both unfamiliar with, and moved to San Francisco. For some reason you don’t feel quite as lost when you’re no longer alone and I found that in moving out here with him. We don’t know if we’re going to stay on this path or veer off again, but thankfully that decision isn’t required yet as we’re not at the crossroads.
No matter how far down this other path I go I can’t help but wonder how different and possibly simpler my life would be if I hadn’t chosen to break off onto this path. I look at what my sister and brothers have from taking the more familiar path and have an idea for what my life could have been. Hopefully one day soon my path will be running parallel to theirs. While my path took a little longer to get to where I wanted to be, it’s been very scenic.