Saturday, February 4, 2012

The path for me

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down as far as I could
To where it bent in the underground;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden back.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."

-Robert Frost

One of the most influencial books I have had the blessing to have read is "A New Earth" by Ekhart Tolle. Very Taoist in nature, it speaks of the universe and how we are all an interconnected part of it. It seems as though many people throughout our human history have been investors in this idea, some perscribing to fate, destiny, or God. But at the end of the day it is the belief that there is a greater force that binds us, greater than trees, greater than wind, greater than man.

A big part of my own understanding of the universe and how it works is closely tied to the revelation - rather notice - of signs around me. When my friend Nicky mentioned Shakespeare and Company (the bookstore for writers in Paris) it planted the idea of traveling to Paris. But it wasn't until I had decided that a true sign revealed itself to me. The night of my decision for travel I returned home after work to discover a message from my cousin Marla living in London. Two months before I had send her a traveler's guide book of Paris, inscribing it with the message to travel there while she was so close (in location) and enclosed 30 pounds to help defer the cost of travel. Because of customs and shipping it took until that night, the night I had decided to travel to Paris, for her to receive it.

Her message read something like this:

"Hey Ky, I have an idea. Instead of me going to Paris alone why don't you come here to London and we can go together!"

It was the first sign I truly understood to be one. The mere fact that MONTHS had passed since I sent her the book, and that she so happen to send me THAT message on THAT night, the very same night that I had decided on the crackpot idea of travelling to Paris. What are the odds?

After I firmly committed to going I began to notice other signs: "Paris" towels Sears (where I worked) had apparently sold for months without my noticing; the painting hanging next to my door, there since I moved in, of Paris that I had never payed attention to. The list goes on.

The same existed in the way that I had decided to go to Istanbul. Once I decided that would be the destination of my next trip I went to work the next day to ask the magic 8-ball what it thought (we had held one behind the cash wrap in my department). As the story goes I don't remember what I asked or even what the 8-ball replied, only that it was in fact a TURKISH magic 8-ball, accidentally packaged in English packaging, boxed with 3 other English magic 8-balls, and sent to Sears in downtown Chicago, the very one I happened to work at. What are the odds?

Of course just like Paris I began to notice other signs as well, the towel I had used for literally years was made in Turkey, a song that had made it on to my Paris iPod (the mix I had made and listened to while in Paris) had included a song that had materialized from unknown places having the refrain "Istanbul" [see RJD2 - 1976]; etc. The list goes on.

Now I find myself in New York City. And it was the universe that brought me here.

I had lived with my roommate for about a year. It was with a friend of mine from back to high school, and when I returned from India in need of a new place to call home we began living together. For various reasons I had decided that the time had come for me to move out and move on; in a sense our time together had run its course. The arrangement we had together allowed me to pay a very affordable rate of rent. When I returned to Chicago from Christmas with my family I began to look for an apartment that I could move to. As the search went on I quickly discovered that finding a place that had rent I could afford would put me in a very unfamilliar part of town, far from transit, and in most all cases closer to danger.

The other part of the situation was that I needed to give 30 days notice to move out. My roommate had moved into our apartment in October of 2010, and when I joined him in January of the following year we mutually agreed that if either one of us decided to move on or out that we would give the other 30 days head's up. Not being able to find a new apartment immediately when I returned to Chicago after Christmas meant that I was "stuck" in my apartment for at least another month, and after my search I began to realize that it would likely be much longer.

I was crushed. I had decided that I had finished with my roommate and wanted desperately for a new place to call home, but without roommates it was plainly apparent that I would not be able to afford to move. It was January 1st.

That's when I saw the message; the sign. That night my friend Janira posted a note on facebook that she was in search of a new roommate. Her and another person were moving into a new apartment and the rent was EXACTLY what I was paying. The day that I had called my mum and dejectedly explained that I wasn't going to be able to move, the very last day that I could give my roommate notice I got the sign to move to to New York.

The messaging back and forth with Janira went something like this:

Janira - "roommate needed. Great 3 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for $500 a month. Please contact for details."
Me - "If you have a job for me in New York I'm totally in!"
Janira - "I have a friend named Craig, and he has a list."

That was it. That was all I needed. Impetuous, crazy, irresponsible, scary, selfish, call it what you will. At that moment I knew that I was moving to New York.

Abotu a week ago I began to question my move. Just after I returned from Paris I began to date a girl. From the get go I explained to her that I was not in search of anything serious, that in fact I was planning to move to Paris (which I still am). As time passed I began to feel more and more for her. I fought it. I fought it hard. I fought loving her. But a couple weeks after I decided to move I could fight it no more. I let myself love her. And she loved me. I loved a girl in Chicago, and finally let myself do so a mere days before moving to a different time zone.

I asked myself what kind of sense that made, how selfish it was to share my love with her so close to leaving her. Yet the way I understood it was that I FELT the universe pulling me to New York. It wasn't a choice so much as a gut feeling, something that I simply felt in my heart. And it was the one time that I questioned my moved, that I questioned if I would get to New York and regret leaving a woman I loved, that a sign from the universe again showed me the way.

I had stopped in to see her at work and as I left and walked down State St. I questioned my decision, I wondered if I had made a mistake. At that very moment a guy was walking towards me with a navy blue 59-50 (the official MLB on field hat the players wear) turned backwards. It was a common sight to see in Chicago with so many transplants from Michigan and Minnesota there (The Twins and Tigers both wear navy blue caps). In some small place inside me I always enjoyed seeing people proudly supporting the state of Michigan and Michigan teams, and wanting a little relief from the thoughts in my head I turned to see the front of the hat as the guy passed me; I wanted to see the old English "D". What I saw instead was a New York Yankees hat.

Now there are MILLIONS of Yankees fans in the world. It is not that someone wearing a Yankees hat is all that odd. But in Chicago it is not all that common. And for THAT guy wearing THAT hat to pass by me at THAT very moment that I was having THAT train of thought? What are the odds?

My first night in New York Janira and I sat and chatted for a moment. She asked me what it was that I hoped to accomplish in New York and I didn't really know how to answer her, mostly because I really didn't know myself. The only thing I know is that I belong here, now, and that this is where the universe intends me to be. I'm not exactly sure what the finish line is for me, but I firmly know that I'm on the right path to it.

So many people I know - family, friends, coworkers - all congratulated me on moving and showered me with praise. But the reality is that it is simply a move. The hardest thing for me is something that only a handful of people know about; that I left a woman I love in a city I may never again return to. But it is what I feel, and deep down that I know my heart and gut are never wrong, it is only my head that screws things up.

The greatest thing God gave man was free will. When I was talking with a friend of mine they pointed out that signs are things that we notice, and in a way that they exist because of the way we choose to notice and interpret them. I could not agree more. As I believe the universe has a plan for each of us I do not believe that it is only one path that we are destined to follow. We are the authors of our own lives, we choose our own path. The best way I can know how the universe gives us signs that we are on a correct path is by knowing that I have never received signs when I wasn't. While I decieved my family about my grades and schooling, when I drank on a daily basis, when I was a liar, all of these times I never once saw a sign that I was doing or living the right thing or way. Never have I had a good gut feeling about cheating on a girlfriend, never have I seen a clear sign that I should drive drunk. But signs exist, and though I have chosen a path not familiar to many others I know it to be the path that I am supposed to be on.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."


  1. Ahhhhh - I am speechless as I read your musings and thoughts from the heart. You are DEFINITELY on the right path in NYC - I can't wait to get the first SIGNED copy of your book - it will be my proudest moment ever!

    xoxox MoM

  2. Thanks mum, though I cannot take full credit for what I do and who I am. For without my upbringing, my family, my parents, my mother I would be nothing. If there is credit to be given it is only to you.

    On a side note... Thank you. I do love being praised =)