Have you ever been told to choose your path?
When I was 16 years old, I was working as a waitress for Bob Evans Farms Restaurants in Xenia, OH. I loved working there, loved meeting new people and especially loved the tips I made on top of a $2.13 hourly wage. As one of my first jobs, I was really good at being a waitress, had the personality for it, but knew it wasn’t going to be my career path. One morning, which I still remember very clearly, I was asked to fill-in at the counter. The counter was where all the older men would come and sit down and if we (the waitresses) were lucky, they’d actually order food and leave you a tip, as long as you kept the coffee coming.
On this particular day however, there was an older man at the end of the counter that I had never seen. My other girlfriend who was working the front with me ran by and said, “You take him- he smells funny and is RUDE!” I looked down the way and sure enough, he sat there, impatiently tapping his fingers and staring at me. I’d always been told you needed to ‘choose your path’ in life and I knew working as a waitress wasn’t my path of choice, but little did I know, and not even until many years later, that this man would be a catalyst for my interest in astrology and would forever change my perception of the world… over a cup of coffee and a cool conversation.
The man was an older guy with long, wiry, white hair-completely unkempt, had a face that looked like he lived out in the open: tanned, leathery, wrinkled and aged by the elements. He did kinda stink, even from across the counter and at first I thought he could be homeless, but either way, as long as he paid for his meal, it was my job to serve him. I forget what I cheerfully mumbled as I greeted him, but I do remember having to hold my breathe in between words- it really was that bad. He continued tapping his fingers, staring me down for an uncomfortably long amount of time and then said to me: “You’re a Scorpio and I’ll take a coffee. Black.”
Talk about a conversation starter! Yes, I am a Scorpio, but at that time, I didn’t know much at all about astrology, horoscopes and the zodiac. So I said to him, “Lucky guess, I suppose. How do you know?” He says to me, very gruffly, “Get my coffee and I’ll tell you.” In my 16 year old mind at that time, I was probably thinking, ‘yeah right old man- like I even care,’ and honestly wasn’t interested in breathing in anymore of his personal space, but I got his coffee, tended to my other customers and let him take his time. As a little time went on and I went to top his coffee off. He said to me, “You don’t have to be scared and you don’t have to choose your path.”
Amused, I told him I wasn’t scared of him. He was weird, definitely, but I was not scared and I (thought I) already knew what path I was headed: I was going to go to school for mass communications, radio/television broadcasting and had been preparing to start college coursework in the fall when school started back up. He kinda chuckled without smiling and said, “Another strong Scorpio trait- you’re going to be something special.” I laughed and remember saying something clever like, “I already am,” and it was then that he took off his old jacket- feeling more comfortable, I assume. I don’t know what it was about this weird, old, stinky man. I didn’t know him, wasn’t sure if he was crazy and didn’t know what he was getting at- but I let him talk, thinking he just needed some some friendly conversation and hoping it would increase my tip as I continued to listen.
He started to tell me that everyone put on this earth is completely different from each other, not by obvious genetic makeup, but also by astrological design. Astrology used to be a widely used science and dates back to some of the earliest civilizations, but has now become more folklore to the modern sciences. It all depends on where you were born, what time and date. He tried to explain to me about different planets (there are 7, which is one of my favorite numbers), the sun, the moon and the different signs of the zodiac (twelve spatial divisions of the ecliptic) and based on their aspects (geometric angles) being relative to one another. Dazed by his choice of subject matter and confused by the overload of information that I didn’t understand at the time, I politely continued to listen and became engulfed in the things this guy was telling me!
What had started out to be a simple cup of coffee with an odd, old man, was now turning into one of the most intriguing conversations that my young ears had ever heard! He said by my looks and mannerisms alone, he knew right away that I was a Scorpio, because he was too. He continued on, saying that he could tell right away by the depth of my eyes that I had “it” in me. I asked what “it” was and he said he wouldn’t be able to explain “it” because I had to find out myself. He asked me, point blank, if I believed in ghosts, spirits, energy or God. I remember telling him yes, that my belief is something that kind of combines all of that. I couldn’t explain it, nor did I really have the time, but I remember feeling like I had some sort of really strange connection with this seemingly smart and odd counter customer.
He asked if I had ever had a reading or natal chart done for me- which I hadn’t at that time- said no- and again he said, “You don’t have to choose your path.”
This man was obviously some sort of a scholar… with horrible hygiene… but even still, educated and well spoken (once you got past his gruffness). I had to continue waiting on and helping out my other customers, but the man sat there patiently, sipped on more coffee and stared straight ahead until I was able to come back and converse some more. I asked him what he did and how he knew all this. He said he was an astrologer and a professor at one of the nearby colleges (Antioch College in Yellow Springs- a notorious ‘hippie’ community and liberal arts school – also, one of my favorite little cities in the world). The man said that I gave him a premonition- a feeling- and he knew once he walked into the restaurant and saw me- that there was a reason we were supposed to meet. Now, to most people, that just sounds psychotic, but I didn’t get a bad feeling from this guy- quite the contrary, actually.
He was very mysterious, but harmless and in the end, very friendly. He asked me if I happened to know what time I had been born and where. He asked if I had ever had a reading or natal chart done for me- which I hadn’t at that time- said no- and again he said, “You don’t have to choose your path.” He wanted to do a natal chart on me and bring it to me as a gift. I said sure and gave him the information he asked for- half excited and half betting I’d never see him again. So he paid for his coffee and left- no tip. Go figure, though deep-down, had really enjoyed this new found information.
Amazingly enough, about a week or so later, the man returned with a thick manilla envelope. I had happened to be working, he saw me and pulled me aside and said, “What is in here is beyond you right now. I’d explain it to you, but you’re not ready. Read it, keep it and understand it as you grow older. You are very special, Abi. You don’t have to choose your path- you are going to make your own. You were meant to do very big things.” And he left. I never saw him again.
Until recently, I hadn’t even ever thought about him again- that I can recollect. I’m sure I said thanks then, but I never got to thank him for the information I tried to read and understand as kid. I didn’t get to ask questions and it had charts and lines and graphs that I didn’t recognize. Even now, I vaguely remember any of the actual information that spoke of my personality traits and characteristics. Unknowingly, that man had really just given me the biggest “tip” of my life and unfortunately, over time, the manilla envelope was lost in between one of the many moves during the last 16 years of my life.
“You don’t have to choose your path…”
I suppose it was sometime after that point, however, that I really began getting into horoscopes. I would read mine whenever possible and started to learn the general characteristics of people in my “sign”. Further beyond astrology and the zodiac, however, I had also developed an intense interest in the spiritual realm. Since I was much younger than even 16, I’ve always felt like there was someone around me or watching me. I’ve always had an innate extra “sense” in which I’m able to call things before they happen. I get feelings about people and often, will think about someone I haven’t seen or talked to in forever… and within days, I either hear from them, see them, or they are brought up in some way through conversation or news. For the longest time, I always chalked it up to “coincidence” or “deja vu” but as I got older, the feelings and premonitions have gotten stronger and more intense.
It’s interesting, because my horoscopes have always said that Scorpios can posses almost “psychic” powers. I know it isn’t a wildly accepted idea or belief- and I’m not here trying to say that I have some unworldly ability, but what if it were possible? It’s always been a thought in the back of my head, though I still haven’t picked the winning lottery numbers. I generally don’t talk about this side of me though. I realize that people are afraid of what they don’t understand, but it’s who I am and what I’ve always been drawn to- not really ever knowing why. I think, until now, I was afraid myself- to even ask the questions of ‘why am I this way’ and ‘what does it all mean?’ I’m sure there’s a lot of other people out there that have felt this way as well.
I’ve not had what one would call, an easy life, but it hasn’t been the worst, either. When someone says, “you don’t have to choose your path,’ is that like saying, it’s been chosen for me? I don’t think so. I think every person makes decisions and actions based on their surroundings and environment which create reactions or experiences that help shape and pave the way for their future. A lot of negative things have happened to me from choices I made and things I couldn’t always control that took me a long time to understand and cope with, which led me to seek out alternative methods of dealing with my own self-realization. Each thing, however, has made me stronger as I have gone along and I have always been grateful for the many experiences and blessings I’ve been given, as well as the choices I ultimately made. The old phrase goes: You live and you learn… story of my life.
Thinking back about my youth and the many good and bad choices I made along the way, I thought about how many better choices I could have made and how it may have shaped my future differently. Would it have been better or worse? More successful or less? Coulda, shoulda, woulda, right? At least I made it through alive and better yet, I learned from it. I’m grateful for my positive influences throughout life too and I know I definitely wouldn’t have made it to where I am now without them. Yes, I got through my adolescence but I was definitely no angel. Growing up, I was always told ‘choose your path’ when I suppose, deep down I didn’t feel like I should have to. Someone telling me ‘choose your path’ was like someone telling me what prison I wanted to go to for life sentencing. Besides, I always thought I knew what I wanted in life. No one could tell me ‘choose your path’ because I already knew what I thought I wanted… so let’s just say, as a teen and young adult (pre MILF), I chose to sample many different paths, which created many different experiences. I guess that’s part of my natural rebellious nature.
Now, there are plenty of people who turn to drugs, alcohol or other crutches to help cover up their pain and get through their own personal conflict. Some go to church and some focus on food. Admittedly, throughout life, I’ve done and tried variations all of those things, too, and though I feel, it was right for me to do at the time or for periods of time, it’s not what was right for me ultimately and is not who I am… especially now. Recently, I happened to come across The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website for teens that I think would have been great for had a parent or teacher to put in front of me. They have a neat little activity called ‘Choose Your Path’ where your teen is the main character and you’re able to choose your path along the road of choices they put before you. Your teen experiences real-life situations that include the decision of whether to abuse certain prescription drugs and then the outcome is played out in video once the path has been chosen. The Choose Your Path activity is very interactive, informative and eye opening… especially to young and impressionable youth. You can find the ‘Choose Your Path’ activity on the NIDA’s website here.
Throughout my young adulthood and especially after having my girls, I continued my interest in the zodiac and started researching alternative spiritual teachings like Buddhism- which focuses on the practice of mindfulness. Through this path of research, I was then introduced to one of my biggest personal discoveries and beliefs, which is “The Secret”- a philosophy surrounding ‘The Law Of Attraction,’ meaning, “Like attracts like: positive or negative, what you put out into the world is what will eventually come right back.” It’s a combination of my belief in astrology, these many other different beliefs and practices, plus my faith in a higher greater power which includes the power within myself, that I started to finally understand more of myself and of the world around me. I knew purpose again. I knew what I wanted out of life and I knew what I needed to do to get it, instead of being told, “Choose your path.” In hindsight, that old man saying, “You don’t have to choose your path,” back then, now makes sense. I didn’t know what it meant then, but now, I was discovering that I really didn’t ever have to choose any path because I had the power the whole time… within myself, to pave my own, which I had been unknowingly doing my entire life.
So why am I ranting about “Choose Your Path… Or Pave Your Own?”
Recently, I was reading my horoscope on one of my regular apps, like I do pretty much every single day. It was a general reading (one that covers all Scorpios born between October 24 and November 22) and it mentioned something about not having to “Choose Your Path” which made me remember the old, white haired man who had once given me my first natal chart. I decided to get my chart read again- thinking that now, over the last 16 years, after all the knowledge I’ve gained through research, study and life experiences- that now, I’ll be able to understand what that professor had meant. But where would I find a good natal chart reading? Grateful for modern day technology, I hopped on my iPhone and began checking to see which of my horoscope apps offered chart readings. Not happy with the selection, I instead searched specifically for “Natal Chart” and found a free app called Time Passages by Astrograph Software. Not only is the app completely easy to use, it’s also surprisingly in depth and it covers all of your signs, suns, moons and a whole plethora of additional variables.
Pictured are my personal horoscope signs. I’m a Scorpio Sun, with a Scorpio Moon and Scorpio Rising. With this app, you get a daily horoscope, broken down by each of the astrological influences within your sign. It also offers you Natal Chart reading (once you’ve entered all of your birth information) and for $0.99 you get a full reading with natal aspects and natal planet positions. No, I’m not being paid to promote their app (though I should be), but yes, I do suggest you download and check it out now.
Another website (and iPhone app) I use is SusanMiller.com. With her readings, I’ve been given a wealth of information and insight into why things happen, what to watch for and what to consider. Even though I’m a believer and follower of the zodiac, I don’t always read my horoscopes every single day, or try to plan my life around what is being said. The way I look at it, your life is already in stars. What will happen will happen, but when you have an awareness of your being and how it associates with all that surrounds you in your world, you can somewhat control your outcome- much like a person can control their behavior. The horoscopes I’ve read on this particular site have not failed me once. She’s especially specific if you know things about your sign, such as your Sun, Moon, Rising and House. This is also the site I was reading where it said something about not having to “choose your path…” and triggered my memory of the man from 16 years ago, telling me, “You don’t have to choose your path.” Ironic at the very least.
As far as what the horoscopes and charts told me? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have been inspired enough to write this today if I wasn’t excited. Whether or not I wanted to admit it to myself, the natal chart was so completely true. It talks about my nature and why I do the things I do and act the way I act. I’m rebellious, can be argumentative, loyal and optimistic. My chart tells me that my strongest skills are in communication and writing and that my best fields of profession would be in the areas of music, art and entertainment. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried- it’s all in black and white- in someone else’s words- about me. Weird, right? It said that I’d be a highly spiritual person with strong opinions and views that don’t always follow the norm. It mentioned that I could possibly have psychic-like abilities and would be able to sense things around me better than the other signs… Imagine that. Within my profession, it said that my interests lie in helping others and that I will be highly successful in my work as a spiritual healer and guide, teacher, instructor or advisor. Yes- as in MILFadvisors! It was at that point I think I almost threw up. Is this what everyone had talked about my whole life, telling me to ‘choose your path’ and what the old man meant when he said, “You don’t have to choose your path.” He was basically saying I didn’t have to “choose your path” because- guess what- I was already on it!
To Choose Your Path, Or Not To Choose Your Path.
Whether or not that old professor was an actual psychic, and whether or not horoscopes, astrology, spirits, energies and the laws of attraction or power of positivity really hold any weight in your world… it absolutely does in mine. The paths I “didn’t have to choose” and the ones I actually did, led me to become the mother of two beautiful girls. Now, when I hear someone say, “Choose your path,” I look at my girls and am grateful I didn’t listen. I’m grateful for the type of person I am, the things I believe in and the person I’ve become. I’ve already downloaded personalized Natal charts for both girls and have enjoyed “looking into” their personalities, characteristics and said future paths. I know they aren’t exactly like me and that their individual paths will be worlds apart from mine. One thing I’ve learned however, after reading my own chart, remembering the old man and the ‘tip’ I’d been given, is that I won’t tell my girls to ‘choose your path.’ I’ll let them pave their own- just like I did. I’ll tell them the same thing I was told, “You don’t have to choose your path… because my dears, you’re both already on it.”
To choose your path or not to choose your path… that is the question. So my advice to you is to consider this: Choose your path blindly without ever knowing who you are or what you want in life- do what everyone tells you to and only experience what is granted through limitation. Don’t choose your path, and you’ll get to experience all the world offers, be able to find yourselves first… and let your path choose you. Either way, it’s already in the stars. You can choose your path, or pave your own.