When I was growing up and first learning how to read, I loved the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series from the late 70’s. They featured a series of books where each story was written from a second-person point of view where the reader becomes the main character while making choices that determine their actions and ultimately the final outcome of the plot. I can remember sitting in my reading nook in my bedroom and getting comfy with one of my brand new books. You know…the one that had the fresh book spine – intact and without any creases. The adventure hadn’t begun yet. The characters were just words on paper. Before I even had a chance to meet the characters, there was a warning page. A warning to not read the book straight from beginning to end. The book made sure that I was ready to accept the responsibility of the adventure I was about to take was a result of my choice. (No pressure or anything on a 6 year old!!!)
I would open it up and start to read – that first chapter where you had a whole adventure ahead of you – and you had no idea where it was going to go. That’s when it happened. I would get to that page. The one that had the two choices on what you were going to do next. The choice that would give you the next page you needed to turn to for the next step in your adventure. The choice that would create the first crease in my new found book spine.
I can remember the feeling of excitement as I continued on my journey….on my way to making that next choice. There were times that I love the next step in the journey. That feeling of excitement as your main character moved through the pages of the book and created the creases in the spine that made me feel excited at the end of the book. Yet then there were those times that I would pick the next step and not really like where the story was going… I would skip ahead and look at what the next choices were without taking the time to follow the story to the end. Dare I say I would cheat the adventure.
Riche and I were sitting outside one lovely Atlanta evening last week talking about our recent engagement, our work activities from the week and someone got on the conversation of how the choices in our lives from our past ultimately got us to where we are today. I thought of how I had been married for almost 11 years and how rather than regretting those years and choices I made along the way that I instead embraced them as the choices that ultimately brought me to Riche. I thought about how I turned down what I thought was my dream job at an advertising agency in New York directly out of college and instead came to Atlanta. That choice led me to a job that introduced me to some of my now best friends. New characters in the Choose Your Adventure of My Life. Creases in the spine of the story of my journey.
Life can be such an incredible adventure. There were definitely times in my life when I wanted to skip ahead…to look at the choices that would be in front of me and skip ahead without following my story to the end. There were times that dare I say that I wanted to try and cheat the adventure. Not anymore. I love this adventure of my life. I’ve got amazing characters that are on this journey with me. I’ve got creases in the spine of my story that have become the strength that push me forward and help me to not fret the next choice but rather approach it with excitement and unbridled passion.
So my friends, as you move forward in this new adventure of yours…I offer you a warning page of your own. Don’t just live your life from beginning to end. Embrace the creases in the spine of your Choose Your Own Adventure storybook. Leap forward with excitement and fervor and know that even though you hold the immense responsibility of being able to choose along the way that ultimately that becomes one of lifes biggest gifts. Are you ready???