Crossroads Are Game-Time Decisions, Not Dreaded Obstacles

New York City has summoned winter. It’s here in full force, causing me to laugh at “November Lily” who had already begun shivering in 45 degrees. Now my puffer coat and beanie are permanently attached to my body. It’s apocalyptic out there.


Anyhoo.


The other day, on my chilly walk from the subway to the office, I looked up at the street signs. 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. The crossroad. I’m not sure if the cold weather makes me a little more philosophical or if I was having a particularly glum afternoon, but this crossroad struck me. Not for geographical reasoning—yes, the library is located on that corner—but for what the broader idea stands for.

Whenever someone has a decision to make—one that will ultimately change their course—we toss out the word “crossroads.” Will they choose the road less traveled? Will they take the path expected of them?

We love to speculate the lives of others, don’t we?

As we join Robert Frost with our banter about decisions, we often skip to the the choice that’s made, the future. We never stop and appreciate the actual art of a crossroad. In fact, more often than not, we dread it.

But like my physical crossroad holding the city’s beloved literary institution, a crossroad is actually quite handy.

It tells you exactly where you are.

It gives you decisions on what you’d like to do next.

It provides a physical memory of who you were when you were there—this way when you’re at Madison and 48th you can reminisce about how it really wasn’t THAT cold on 5th and 42nd.

Crossroads help us move from the person we are to the person we’d like to be.

When I’m out and about, not with a clear flight path of subway to office, I wander. I wander like an 85 year old who can’t remember where her teeth are. I often wander near my beloved bakery, or as far away from Times Square as I can get. When I’m wandering, I don’t really decide until I’m there—in the crossroad that asks “home” or “one more lap around the park?”

Here’s the sitch. You can think about crossroads as far in advance as you like. But the number of times I’ve “just gone with my gut” is astounding.

Life is full of game time decisions. Some will earn you that Super Bowl ring, others may result in throwing a Hail Mary later on. You can never really know, can you? The most carefully prepared coaches lose games to rookies. Sometimes you’ve just got to call it.

I’m not advising you to stop planning ahead. GOODNESS knows that I would have an utter conniption if that were the case. I’m just suggesting that you stop putting so much pressure on your decisions. Kids who are going to college, adults who are changing jobs, redheads who need to choose between chocolate chip walnut or double dark chocolate chip cookies…we all have to choose which way to go.

Thank goodness, more often than not, you can turn around if the direction you chose isn’t floating your boat. There’s no shame in that. Flip a U-turn, or heck, just choose a new direction altogether. These fears cannot impact the decision you make—choosing a route is a heck of a lot better than just standing on the sidewalk.

Send a little “thanks” to the next crossroad you come to. Without it, you’d never get anywhere. Move it or lose it, kiddos.