Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I think it's awesome we all have choice and agency. on the day I took this photo, I had chosen to wander. along with the sunny street pictured, I happened across a lively gelato festival and an olive tree symbolizing renewal. other journeys have been less spontaneous, but each one was special. each one is mine. someone recently reminded me: "our collection of experiences make us who we are at this moment". even though I cannot choose what I will encounter, I can choose my response; our choices directly contribute to the impact we have on the world.
during high school, I had the option to continue with something that was possible, but would have taken all of my energy. the opportunity would have meant unpredictable demands on me as the years went by. I was required to reflect on what paths I would be abandoning if I accepted, where I wanted to dedicate my time, and if it was my dream or someone else's. I decided not to invest my energy there and instead chose to develop further in areas I felt were worthwhile.
the opportunities and experiences I have had made me who I am today. some were meandering paths where I stumbled upon lovely treasures, while other journeys were more planned out. in those moments when the roads diverge in drastically different ways, I am careful to remember to pursue my own dreams, not someone else's.
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I first learned about gratitude journals when I was in high school, but only began to regularly keep one years later, after forming naming darkness finding light; I chose to share some of my entries from each week online. while it has become a practice that invites me to reflect on themes and connections over time, the very word gratitude was a major roadblock for me at first.
I had to separate gratitude’s meaning from the one it had taken on because of abuse. an abusive relative of mine favoured manipulation and instilling guilt in me and others to make us feel indebted to them; the individual desired to control the lives of others. in time, I came to feel I owed that person gratitude. it wasn’t long before they owned the term gratitude in my mind.