Life is like a tree. Everyone starts out on the same path, rising together as one tree trunk. Doing all the “right” things. You go through each grade together. Then high school. Then college. Then get a job. That’s when life starts to branch out. Most people still continue with a similar but different path for some time. All separate branches but growing up toward what society believes to be the sun. What it tells you success looks like. But the longer the tree grows, the further the space between the branches. You realize there is no more normal, and all are free to chart their own path. In fact, you have no choice but to. The trunk is long gone, and there is no right thing to do anymore.
But being the first one to branch out from the trunk is terrifying. The rest of the tree does not understand what you’re doing and warns you’re losing your chance at sunlight. Take a different approach to growth, and you will be judged. You will be criticized. You will be faced with attempts to talk you out of it by people who truly believe they are doing you a favor. But don’t accept their ignorance as gospel. Take the feedback courteously. Gently place it in a garbage bag. And throw it the hell out. Your purpose is clear to you and only you. And when they eventually see you living it, they will understand why you dismissed their advice.
It most definitely won’t be easy to branch out first or grow sideways when everyone else is growing up. It will be tough. But it will feel amazing. You may not get the most sunlight, but you just may be the one to get the most rain. When you branch out sideways because you crave water over light, you will grow so much quicker. When you discover and answer the path that calls to you, you will grow stronger and faster each day. You will soak up more and more water, and it will only fuel you to keep going.
You will be scared, and you may feel lost at times. But your thirst will keep propelling you in the right direction. Guiding you toward what you need to feel satiated. Though you’re in uncharted territory, you already know the way to go. When your heart is thirsty, it doesn’t know the path to warmth. Franky, it doesn’t give a shit.
So why stay with the trunk so long? I challenge you to forget the tree. Don’t be a tree. Be a bush. Be a shrub. Be a goddamn pumpkin patch. Don’t wait to do you. Chart your own path much sooner, right from the start. And do it unapologetically. Often by the time life separates into branches and we realize we are free to pursue our own passions, there are so many things that make it much more challenging. Mortgage. Children. Insurance. Retirement. The risk is often so much greater. By the time the branch breaks free from the trunk, it is already so far away from the ground.
If you start now, start today, you will undoubtedly reach what fuels your soul. The water is there waiting for the first to yearn for it. The first to be brave enough to grow toward it. Let that be you. Don’t let life be a tree. Don’t spend your days fighting to be the tallest branch only to realize you don’t even like the sun. Have courage. Grow sideways. Get drenched.