Today I walked a different path…again. On my previous morning walks on the new path, my marker was the boardwalk. Once I reached that, I turned around and walked back to the parking lot. The boardwalk appeared to have a decline, which meant walking its incline upon my return. It looked too steep for my ability.

But when I reached the boardwalk today, something happened. My curiosity wouldn’t let me make my usual about-face and head back to the parking lot. The few steps beyond the boardwalk looked challenging. My heart was racing and I took short breaths as I forged downward on the path…only to discover that it wasn’t steep at all! The deep gray color of the boardwalk and the way it was positioned on the trail gave the illusion of depth. I laughed at myself for being intimidated by an illusion! How many times have I done the same thing in life!

I was so giddy and proud of myself for tackling the boardwalk that I hadn’t noticed a decline en route to the boardwalk that was actually a more challenging uphill climb that my imaginary boardwalk dip. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? Probably because I was enjoying the journey so much that I didn’t pay attention to the destination. Another major life lesson. The journey is often more fun than the destination.

After passing the boardwalk, where did I end up? At another new destination! It was an entrance to the wildlife habitation section of the park. My love for animals pushed me farther along as I enjoyed the company of deer, rabbits, turtles, a more forest-like surrounding, and of course more squirrels and birds. This was unbelievable! How far did the wildlife habitation go? For maybe a half a mile.  Then I was at the end of the park. It dead-ended into a small business complex with offices, restaurants, and apartments. It didn’t feel like a park anymore.  In fact, people who lived in the apartments started their journey through the park at the wildlife habitation section and walked past the boardwalk and up the small incline to get the park.

I have been walking daily for six months and have learned every path in the park. Often, I mix things up by combining short strolls on the old and new trails. Valuable life lessons appeared on those paths including:

– don’t be afraid to try something new

– sometimes the deterrents in life are just illusions…go for it

– the journey can be more fun than the destination

– you get to the end of the path, create new ones

In your life journeys, don’t be afraid to go beyond whatever boardwalk you encounter. Great things lie ahead!