The Wilderness Passage is Not Optional
You can catch the ride early or catch it late. But, like it or not, you were born with your ticket. Sooner or later, the conductor will call, “All Aboard!” and the train—with you on it—will pull out of the station.
The weird thing about a Wilderness Passage is we can try to duck it … and even succeed—except what happens is the very act of dodging becomes its own Wilderness Passage and, despite all our efforts, our destiny has caught up with us and we have to face it.
I have a friend who’s an entertainment lawyer in Hollywood. The law is his shadow career and he knows it. He should be writing or producing movies … or books … or working in some whole new medium of expression. But he’s not. He keeps putting that day off.
It won’t surprise you, I’m sure, when I report that my friend’s formerly social drinking has taken a more dangerous turn. He’s also dressing differently. I don’t know what to call his new style but it’s definitely not “L.A. Law.”
In other words, my friend is slip-sliding from one wilderness (for him)—the law—into another of self-destruction (or, perhaps more positively, self-redefinition.)
What is he seeking? Like me, I suspect, he is unconsciously navigating toward an All is Lost Moment—some horrible crash-and-burn calamity whose ultimate outcome will be, I hope, his making the decision to commit to whatever his heart is really calling him to.
This is a long way of saying that the Wilderness Passage is not optional.
We may think we can duck and dodge it, and we may actually succeed for years. But sooner or later, our unlived life will catch up to us.
P.S. The story of my own passage through the wilderness—GOVT CHEESE: A Memoir—was just published a few days ago (in hardback, eBook, and audiobook), 12/30 to be exact. Signed first editions can still be ordered at www.stevenpressfield.com.