18 days

Driving down the wrong road and knowing it,

The fork years behind, how many have thought

To pull up on the shoulder and leave the car

Empty, strike out across the fields; and how many

Are still mazed among dock and thistle,
Seeking the road they should have taken?
~Damon Knight, The Man in the Tree, 1984

I absolutely love that passage. I’ve read it about a thousand times, trying to let it soak in. I’m not the most figurative reader, I never did well interpreting poetry, but I’m sure it’s okay for the passage to have different meanings to different people. To me, this means hindsight is 20/20. Once we’ve taken the “wrong” road and finally stop and admit it to ourselves, many times it’s all too easy to get caught in the weeds of regret. While okay to pull off to the side for a bit to regroup, to grieve, to curse yourself, to recheck the map, it’s never safe to stop for too long on the shoulder of a busy road. It’s even more unsafe to get out of the car and get lost on foot in the middle of no where. It’s always best to keep moving forward whenever possible.

This is a good reminder for me now, because I’ve had a lot of “why me?” and “life’s not fair!” moments in the past couple of weeks. As I prepare to let go of my 20s, I’m sitting in my car, staring at the rear-view mirror wishing I could change the scenery, pondering getting out and potentially getting lost in the weeds, looking for a missed turn some miles back. But, I’m not getting anywhere doing this. The road of my past is straight and I can see for miles and miles and miles. But, looking ahead, there are tons of routes available.

So, I’m making a commitment to myself today to simply . . . get over myself. Get over my past. It is what it is. I’ve spent more time feeling sorry for myself lately over what I didn’t do in my 20s and torturing myself with “what ifs?”, rather than thinking ahead to what I want to do in my 30s. I can’t change the former, but I have control over the latter.

Today I was able to get back into my parking space after the re-paint and power wash. Miraculously, my little “No parking! This space is reserved” sign made it through the maintenance. As I parked, I got out of my car and without missing a beat, I tore my precious sign down. In the almost empty garage, since the floors below me are still closed off for parking, the little sign looked absolutely pathetic. It made me feel like some crotchety old lady, who hates the world, and is putting up all sorts of barriers to keep people out and trying to control everything around me. And that’s not me.

Tearing the sign down was liberating. Without the sign, I may have another parking issue that irritates me. Or, I may not. But, either way, it’s okay. It doesn’t really matter where I may have to park my car. It just matters I’m going to eventually get back in it and move on.


  1. LOVE this post Alison! You definitely have a knack for writing.

  2. Completely agree with Monica! Can you start the book already that we have all wanted you to write for many many years! You have a talent that I really really believe could inspire others and help them with their struggles too. I know you help me just by what you write on a regular basis. I am glad to hear that you are looking to the future – it is a bright for you!!! Love always – your devoted fan!

  3. you guys are so sweet!! shauna, you made me cry, thanks for always being along with me on my journey, i love you!

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