I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. You might have even heard it at the close of one of my classes. How many times a day do you choose the thing you “should” be doing over the thing you really want?
Perhaps there are times when this serves us. For example, you order the kale salad for lunch instead of the nachos, which sound infinitely better. You decide to pay the gas and electric bills rather than walking home with that cute new yoga outfit you saw on the mannequin at the studio. You pick up the kids and shuttle them to the dentist and to volleyball practice instead of crawling into bed to enjoy a long overdue nap.
Sure enough, there are things we just have to do if we want to function as responsible adults in this world. There’s no getting around that. Still, a critical problem arises when our lives become all about the shoulds without any room for the wants.
There needs to be room for both. Finding a way to indulge in what you want is the way to add color and zest to your life. It’s what makes you pop out of bed in the morning with an eagerness for the day. It’s what makes your heart flutter and sends chills down your spine. The wants excite us, motivate us, and refuel our otherwise rapidly draining wells. They give our lives meaning.
I urge you to take a look at your own life today – right this very minute. What things do you want? What have you been dreaming about that you’ve found a million reasons to deny yourself? Maybe, just maybe, can you choose to allow that dream some space to breathe? I’ll bet there’s one thing you can do today that honors your want – even if it’s something as simple as posting a picture of it on your fridge or bulletin board. Give your dreams permission to grow roots. Water them with love and compassion. That is what it’s like to choose the second path. Whenever possible, always take the second.