The Path

Just having a little fun with some semi-fiction this weekend…​  Hope you enjoy.


The alarm goes off. ​That means it’s time to get up for ​our daily walk along The Path. I’ve been walking along The Path for years now. Decades, even. It’s well-lit, although the lighting seems somewhat… unnatural. Fluorescent. ​I’ve been walking The Path since before I can remember. It’s all I know. I like it here because it’s safe and everyone I know is here. ​It’s comfortable.

Each day I wake up and I walk along The Path as I’ve always been told to do. I can’t remember when I was told, maybe when I was a child. I don’t know. I’m here with my family and friends, and they’re all walking along The Path with me and they insist we’re going in the right direction. I have a map, and it confirms this. The map doesn’t have a scale though, so I’m not sure how close we are to our destination. ​We must be getting close by now.​

On each side of the Path are thick thorny bushes, impossible to penetrate. I guess that’s why no one steps off The Path. Plus, I’ve heard ​that ​there are dangerous monsters behind the thorny bushes. And poisonous snakes that will… I don’t know what they do, but I’m told it’s bad​ and scary. The Advertisements say we shouldn’t go back there. They say it’s very dark and dangerous. It’s certainly enough to keep me out of there.​

The Path is uphill. It’s been uphill for years. It’s getting steeper though, so I think we might be getting close ot the summit. Unless it’s a false summit.  That happened once a few years ago. I liked that feeling of hope towards the top of that false summit, so I guess that was good.

The food along The Path is plentiful. It grows in the trees​ along The Path​. There’s more than I could ever eat, although sometimes it feels toxic. Like it takes away energy, rather than providing fuel. It’s almost like it does both – provides ​just ​enough energy to keep ​us ​walking, but ​not enough for anything else.  It tastes good, to be sure.

It’s a shame all these thorns and snakes and monsters border The Path, because I’ve heard rumors. Rumors of another path deep on the other side of the thorny bushes, and beyond the monsters and snakes. ​They call it “the path beyond the thorns.” ​I’ve heard that this path is much smoother and with less obstructions. I’ve heard that the lighting is​n’t as fluorescent, but natural. And I’ve heard the trees on each side of the path are welcoming, and filled with food that provides boundless energy. Unlike The Path, which is concrete, I’ve heard the path beyond the thorns is made of grass and ​dirt and ​mud and rock, and that flowers grow all around it, and that it’s wide and there are many options for scenic routes ​along the way ​when you feel like it. I don’t like when we have detours, so I’m not sure I’d like those scenic routes.​ I probably wouldn’t like it.​

I’ve also heard that the path beyond the thorns has lakes and rivers along the way. And that you can stop and swim in them and smell the flowers and rest under the waterfalls. Not just on Rest Days, but on any day. The rumors say that over on the path beyond the thorns that they don’t even have Rest Days, because any day can be a Rest Day, and any day can be a Walking Day. There’s no yin because there’s no yang over there.  That sounds like anarchy to me. I prefer structure. Structure is good. That’s what The Advertisements tell me, anyways.​​

They also say the path beyond the thorny bushes has no destination. ​But what’s the point in walking, if you don’t have an end goal? Some people say that the other path ​​is the ​end goal, but I don’t get it. Nope, that doesn’t make any sense at all.​ We should all have goals​ to walk towards, and that goal should be as good as the goal at the end of The Path. Without a larger goal, I think I’d just get bored. I know this, because The Advertisements say so.

Anyways, The Path isn’t all that bad. It’s not always good either, but it’s easy​.​ ​And ​it’s ​safe. The beds are comfortable. And there’s great rewards ​at the end. At least that’s what ​T​he ​Advertisements say, ​the one’s that are ​hung from the thick thorny bushes. They say that when we reach the end of The Path, we’re rewarded with limitless pleasures. Entertainment, food, wine, and all the sleep we want. This is good, because my feet are getting more sore everyday, and so is my back.

The ​Advertisements always tell me about ​all the things I need​ and all the things I’ll get​ in the end. It’s hard to collect all these things ​right now ​though, seeing as I have to carry it ​with me on The Path. Some of these things are heavy, and they slow me down.  I’m not sure I need them all anyways. I want them though, that’s for sure. That’s what ​T​he ​A​dvertisements tell me.

Sometimes big machines drive by, powered by motors. ​The people inside are called The Rich​, that’s what we call them anyways​. Sometimes they throw wine bottles ​out their windows as they pass. ​That wouldn’t be so bad if I had shoes. I’m sure there are shoes at the end of The Path. ​It​’s said that ​The Rich get to ride the Path straight to the end. That sounds nice, but I wonder if they can appreciate the destination without the journey? Nah, that’s not for me. Nope. I’m better off walking.

At night, after another successful day of walking up this hill ​of The Path ​I’m rewarded with rest. The beds are comfortable, and the rooms are warm. It’s nothing to complain about, that’s for sure. Sometimes my feet hurt, though. ​A​nd my back. So I take some pills, and the wine helps as well. They always have plenty of wine for us in these resting rooms. ​You sure can’t complain about that. ​I ​think the wine is there to make sure we get a good night’s sleep, so we can be ready to continue our journey tomorrow. ​The Path takes care of us in that way. ​

Yep, there’s nothing to complain about here. The Path takes care of ​us, and makes sure I’m headed in the right direction. Still, sometimes I lay in bed at night, a little tipsy on wine,  ​and I think about the path beyond the thorns. The​y say over there that the​ journey ​​is the destination. I wonder what that’s like?

Sounds crazy if you ask me.​​  That’s what The Advertisements tell me, anyways.

13 Responses to The Path

  1. Camille says:

    Great analogy, and I really enjoyed reading this! Takes me back to creative writing class in grade school. Glad to see there is plenty of time to pursue creative writing once you’ve stepped off The Path.

  2. That is some quality, C.S. Lewis-type stuff there. Great metaphor, not heavy handed. One of the better reads I’ve had on a PF blog in a long while. Thank you.

  3. Wow… very nice piece!

    The metaphor of the rich people throwing wine bottles out the window was particularly strong. I can image the smashed pieces all over the floor slowing down our progress along “The Path” – delaying our arrival at the destination (or finding the alternative path).

  4. Fatchance says:

    Love it! If you are really only posting 10% of what you write, consider doubling that (or more). Your articles are very entertaining.

    • I’m hoping to more than double it this year. I was looking back at my archives and found that I was publishing, on average, just once per month. This is about 25% what I actually wrote down, and < 10% of what I wrote in my mind while laying in bed, taking a shower, walking to the store, and so on. You wouldn't believe what incredible insight I have when I'm doing one of these tasks mindfully. I'm like the Buddha, Confucius, and Marcus Aurelius combined. :)

      My hope is to write at least once per week this year, which I think is reasonable.

      • Evan says:

        “You wouldn’t believe what incredible insight I have when I’m doing one of these tasks mindfully. I’m like the Buddha, Confucius, and Marcus Aurelius combined.”

        I was just thinking that except my version had Dostoevsky and Rand in there too lol

  5. Great article! I shared with a couple of guys I work with and they really enjoyed as well. Really puts the day to day corporate hampster wheel into perspective.

  6. Stacey says:

    Just what I needed to read today. Thanks for that!

  7. Dr. Doom says:

    Kind of scary. When you frame modern American society this way, it seems as though we’re already living in our own dystopian future. Oh wait, I suppose that’s why you called your blog Brave New Life. Very Huxley-an of you.

  8. Brenden says:

    I like this “story”. I am still in the corporate world but am slowly working on a strategy to make it through the thorny bushes to the other path. Thanks for the inspiration and the mental image of where I am and where I want to be.

  9. @freepursue says:

    Thank you for your unique take on the life we are taught to live, and the implied potential for more, much more.

    “It will be better tomorrow.” “I just need to get this amount of money and then I will be OK.” “Life will be better when I have/get _______.” “I can’t because ________.” “The Path” took care of putting all these thoughts into perspective. Walking “The Path” is a choice that is made to seem to be an obligation.

    I, for one, enjoy visiting the streams, rivers and lakes any day, not just on rest days. If only more of us chose to taste what life is like off the beaten path, living the way you want to live.

    I selfishly implore you: please write more!

  10. Jamie V says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, thank you. Some days, I jump up and see that path (over the thorny hedges), but then I land in the thorns and I roll backwards…pained and set back, it takes so much to just get myself one foot further ahead from where I was before I tried to look over the hedges in the first place. Some times I fall into the stream and I realize I’m paddling myself backwards even more but have no clue why – it’s just where I’m led. Is there any hope anymore. (I know there is, it’s just hard)

  11. Tom says:

    omg, good $&%#ing writing! I’ve retired at 27 after reading ERE and MMM. Your passive income path is more similar to mine than Jacob’s or Mustache’s in terms of nano-business and real estate investing, and I’m reading your entire blog. Picked up some informational nuggets here and there, but this post stands out as great writing!

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge