Roads not taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken,
The Road Not Taken is a great poem. And there’s a lot of truth in it. We choose certain paths in life, or they are chosen for us, and they take us places. But we need to be careful not to think that the roads we have taken mean that we are on a set course forever. I hope Robert Frost was happy with the choice he made. You know, overall. But equally that if he wasn’t, that maybe he could have looked for ways to change it. Maybe those two paths meet again further down the road? Maybe he could have forged a new one through the trees to get back to the other one?
One of the reasons I called my company Avenues was because I wanted to capture that there isn’t just one way to navigate your way through life. There are many. I once did a presentation where I included a wide range of pictures of places that were all named “avenues” – a shopping centre, an inner-city street, a suburban housing estate, a leafy country driveway, an upmarket shopping street. All different, none of them wrong per se, none of them better than the others. What might suit one person mightn’t suit someone else. What be right for you at one stage in your life might not be at a different one.
And just because you make certain choices at a certain time doesn’t mean you can’t make changes later on.
It’s not always that easy to see that. Sometimes we feel restricted by decisions we have taken in the past or by opportunities that have been denied to us. And we’re at a point where it just seems …complicated.
We had a family friend who told a story of going on road trips as a child. His mother always used to say: there is no such thing as a wrong turn when you are on holidays. Life, of course, is not always like a holiday. But maybe there’s still not such a thing as a wrong turn? It’s not that we’re not allowed have regrets. It’s not that we’re not allowed wish things had turned out differently. It’s that we are where we are, and you owe it to yourself to take what learnings you can from that and then figure out where you need to be.
In fact, maybe life is like a jungle gym. There’s no straight line to get to where you need to be. Instead there are many different ways. You go up, you go down. You climb, you slide. Sometimes you find a short cut, sometimes you find a dead end. Sometimes you end up where you started. You keep going. You make friends along the way and then you get lost in the ball pit for a while. It doesn’t really matter. It’s an experience. And that is life.
There’s a detail I put into the logo for Avenues. Or rather, I thought of it and my amazing designer, Diane Higgins, elevated it into what you see now. It’s a paper clip. I put it in for a couple of reasons. It’s a nod to my own past and heritage – I am originally from Norway where the paper clip is a bit of a national treasure and was used as a symbol of resistance during World War 2. And when I came across a vintage clip which looked like an A, I knew I had to incorporate it somehow.
But I also liked the symbolism of the paper clip in itself. A paper clip helps create order. You use it to put papers together. But they’re not stapled together. It’s easy to rearrange them if you need to. You have options.
You probably have more options than you think in life, too. In fact, I know you do. Maybe you are at a crossroads right now. Maybe you just feel a bit stuck, afraid that circumstances and previous decisions have led you down a path that you don’t know how to diverge from. Maybe you need something to change, maybe you want more balance in your life, maybe you want to put yourself first for a change.
Forge a new road through the woods, pick an avenue that suits you better, enjoy wherever that perhaps-not-so-wrong turn took you, have fun working your way through that jungle gym, rearrange those papers.
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