The shoes and ankles of a person are visible, as they stand in the middle of a road. Their feet are evenly placed and spread across the stripes painted on the road. Decorative text appears in the image, subtitled "Middle path."

Middle path.

The answer suddenly appeared that the only way to solve my dilemma of two split worlds was to find the middle path.

This thought emerged to me, as I stood under the warm stream of water in the same shower I had used countless times over the last ten years. Over those previous ten years, so much of my life has changed. The biggest change is that my life was my own now. I have the power to make decisions with regard to my life. I also have the resources and means to act on those decisions. So, now I have more direct influence over the everyday things around me; there is no parent or guardian to delegate decision-making. As I chart my own path and mark my course, I realize that there were two separate paths I was walking on all this time.

Those two separate paths were my personal life and my career. I walked both paths, but both paths were distinctly separate and isolated from the other. There are brief moments where the two paths intersect. Generally, though, I found that my lives at home and work are two different planes of existence. So, a question remained placed neatly in my mind for a number of years. Should these two paths be unified into one or should they remain separate?

Thus… the middle path.

The shower thought suggested the two paths did not have to either join or split. Instead, I could pursue a middle path where I live genuinely and authentically to myself, without splitting myself into two alternate egos. The middle path allows me to keep one foot in my personal life and one foot in my professional life. The middle path allows me to be the same self in the one life that I live.

It is a beautiful reflection, although it is much easier to conceptualize than to act upon. Or easier said than done! For so long, I segmented my life at home and life at work into two boxes. Now, in order to find the middle path, I have some work to do. I have to first unpack the boxes of my mind, reorganize and reorient, and then repack into one, bigger box.

My challenge for the next decade of life is to find the balance between these two worlds. I continue to sail further into my adult years and farther from my child years. So, the continuity of separation must end. Now, I hope to direct my life in such a way that I find the middle path and live harmoniously with family, friends, and my hobbies while also being passionate and committed to my work and craft. When aptly balanced, this leaves room for spiritual growth. It allows me to lead my life toward positive change to achieve a more just, more humane world.

Om mani padme hum!

Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash. Modified by Justin W. Flory.

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