I set out for a late afternoon of skiing on Lake Monona today and was grateful to see a lot of other people, many dogs, and even some snowblowers out on the frozen lake. (Neighbors were clearing a ice skating rink.) I traversed the lake, making it all the way from the shores of Madison to those of Monona (first time for that – yay!). The thing about skiing is that its awesome when someone has gone before you, and left their tracks in the snow. You just glide through the snow faster and easier. When I turned around to come back to Madison, I thought about Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, and wondered if the day would be more rewarding if I made my own path. So, I stepped out of the groomed trail and struggled to make my own.
I think we often put a lot of pressure to be individuals, do our own thing, create something new, and do what we can to leave ou unique mark on the world. It’s a real relief to say that sometimes, that individualistic pursuit is just overrated. Life is enjoyable no matter, even though millions have gone before us. In a matter of minutes, I skiied over to the old trail and made my way home, with ease. I am thankful for the person who went before me, and for the realization that creating something new or blazing a new trail isn’t always worth the struggle.